No, you don’t need a smart meter to install an EV charger

No you don't need a smart meter to install an EV charger

You don’t need a smart meter to install an EV charger, but you do need a smart meter to purchase an EV tariff – so it’s worth getting one anyway to tap into dirt-cheap electricity rates. It’s free to get a smart meter and you can apply anytime with your supplier. There’s no requirement to get a smart meter – it’s just a good idea to do so. If you’d rather stick with what your old meter, just remember you won’t have access to the best energy deals and you will probably pay a lot more to charge your EV at home than you have to.

Why a smart meter + EV charger makes sense

Smart meters communicate energy usage data to your supplier every 30 minutes. This enables suppliers to offer dynamic pricing tariffs that charge less when wholesale electricity prices are lower, such as overnight when demand is reduced.

Smart meters also allow ‘type of use’ tariffs, including EV tariffs, which can slash money off your electricity bill. For example, EV tariff rates are as low as 7.5p per kWh, versus the 29p/kWh energy price cap – that’s a 117.808% difference!

You also need a smart charger such as the Ohme Home Pro – simply plug in your EV, set your desired charging times and levels, and the Ohme Home Pro handles the rest – starting and stopping the charging session automatically based on your preferences and your energy tariff’s dynamic pricing.

The key money-saving feature of dynamic pricing tariffs is the fixed off-peak overnight charging rate, such as 7.5p per kWh between 11:30pm and 5:30am. That’s less than a quarter of the 29p daytime rate! By charging during these 6 overnight hours when electricity demand is low, you slash your charging costs.

Smart meters also communicate with your supplier every 30 minutes or so, meaning suppliers could offer you tariffs that reduce your charges if you use power when it is cheaper for them to buy it on the wholesale market.

Smart meters give you two ways to save money on EV charging costs

Smart time-of-use tariffs come in two varieties – static and dynamic pricing models.

  • Static time-of-use tariffs have pre-set rate blocks during fixed times, such as a low overnight rate from 12 am to 6 am and higher peak rates during popular evening hours of 5 pm to 9pm on weekdays. The times and rate differentials remain constant everyday.
  • Dynamic time-of-use tariffs can change their rates hour-to-hour or day-to-day based on real-time conditions like renewable energy supply, grid demand, and wholesale market prices. For example, rates may plummet at noon on a windy Saturday when surplus clean energy floods the grid. Dynamic tariffs reveal the true cost variation of electricity.

By leveraging real-time data, dynamic tariffs like Octopus’ Intelligent Octopus Go provide cheaper charging when green energy abounds while increasing grid efficiency.

EV drivers on time-of-use tariffs can set flexible charging schedules to optimise costs and green power usage with smart chargers (check out our list of the best smart chargers).

How to get a smart meter

Getting a smart meter couldn’t be easier – pick from the list of energy suppliers below, click the link, and follow your energy supplier’s steps:

Smart meter installation takes 1-2 weeks from the initial booking in most cases, although we have heard of people waiting up to a month for installation. Some suppliers like British Gas always seem to be running behind while others like Octopus and Ovo are fast. Don’t be afraid to keep on top of them on the phone and by email.

Will all this cost me anything?

Getting a smart meter won’t cost you a penny upfront nor will it be added as a charge on your energy bills. It’s a free upgrade in every sense of the word. This will come as a relief, what with EV charger installation costing around £1,000.

Something people do find though is that their energy bill increases following smart meter installation – this is nothing sinister, it simply reflects more accuracy around your billing. Before, your usage was estimated, not accurate.

Hopefully we’ve answered your questions about EV chargers and smart meters.

Jakk is the founder and chief editor of Top Charger. He drives a Volkswagen ID.3 Family Pro Performance, and despite having a lead right foot, he consistently gets over 200-miles of range.