A quiet revolution is underway

Smart meters are being deployed more and more. The latest government figures show nearly two million smart meters have already been installed in the UK and they are changing the way people think about energy, says Sacha Deshmukh, CEO of the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body Smart Energy GB on the BusinessGreen website.


Smart meters are empowering people to make greener choices about their energy use

A quiet revolution is underway from Aberdeen to Penzance, as more and more gas and electricity smart meters are upgraded in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that nearly two million smart meters have already been installed, providing even greater numbers of households with more control over their gas and electricity.

Between now and 2020, everyone in England, Scotland and Wales will have the opportunity to upgrade their existing analogue gas and electricity meters to smart meters, at no extra cost, as part of Britain’s national energy upgrade.

People who have already upgraded and have their smart meters are satisfied with their new-found control and confidence in their energy consumption and bills: 84 per cent of smart meter users recently surveyed as part of our Smart Energy Outlook research said that they would recommend them to friends, family and neighbours.

By upgrading our energy infrastructure with smart meters, for the first time we’ll be able to see what we’re using in near real time, and the rolling cost of our energy accurately, in pounds and pence. This knowledge and control is having a profound effect on the behaviour of consumers and their experience of buying and using gas and electricity.

We gathered the views of 10,000 people for the latest Smart Energy Outlook report. This report is the largest independent survey of attitudes towards energy and smart meters, carried out by Populus on behalf of Smart Energy GB. We found people with smart meters feel far more confident about their energy than those with traditional analogue meters, and that 79 per cent of people with smart meters have also taken action to reduce their own energy use.

Being empowered to take energy efficiency steps in the home is just one of the positive themes that emerged from the data. Nearly eight in 10 (79 per cent) of smart meter users told us that they believe their bills to be accurate, in comparison to just 59 per cent of people with traditional meters. And three-quarters of those with smart meters told us that they understand their energy bills, whereas only 56 per cent of those without feel the same.

In July, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published the provisional findings of its investigation into the energy market. It identified smart meters as an essential part of any set of policies to engage consumers as a competitive force in the energy market. Our research bears this out: people who upgrade feel more informed, in control and willing to take charge of how they use energy.

Our survey also shows how smart meters are arming consumers with the information they need to choose the right supplier and tariff.

When asked, 69 per cent of smart meter users said that they now have the information they need to choose the right supplier, in comparison to just 55 per cent of those with analogue meters. The same positive trend emerged when we asked if consumers felt that they had the right information they needed to choose the right tariff – just 53 per cent of those without smart meters said that they thought they did, whilst smart meter customers again felt they were armed with the right information with 72 per cent agreeing that they had enough information to choose the right tariff.

Smart meters are helping people across the country take more control, bringing down their energy consumption and their bills. As the national rollout accelerates, our national campaign will help everyone across Great Britain get and use their smart meter to revolutionise the way they buy and use gas and electricity.

6 thoughts on “A quiet revolution is underway

  1. Sadly, despite the generalised claims made by this functionary, there is absolutely no evidence that the provision of the kind of fairly primitive smart meters , as specified by the UK authorities, has anything more than a very minor effect upon longer term consumption levels of energy in buildings.

    But what it does do is enable energy companies to cease employing meter readers, together with large numbers of staff dealing with disputed and estimated bills.

    • I absolutely agree and I’m glad you responded. But, somehow I believe we have to make this work to our “energy efficient” advantage.

      • Agreed. It is possible to install genuinely smart meters which can inform a consumer precisely which energy consuming device is consuming how much energy and at what cost at any precise moment.
        But that is not what is mandated in the UK. In practice, the information on kilowatt hour consumption is much the same as has been available in the vast majority of households for the past thirty years: no better than that. The same information will simply appear via a prettier meter. The entire scheme is now reckoned to cost around £14bn. Will the system save consumption of over £14bn worth of gas or electricity in consequence?

      • That cost is staggering for the benefit. You are right. Is there anything that the UK government is doing right, concerning energy efficiency? It isn’t obvious.

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