Fewer than half of consumers want a smart meter
New research suggests households are not fully behind the government’s £11bn nationwide roll-out of smart meters
According to research carried out by the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body (SMCDB), less than half of consumers want to have a smart meter installed in their homes.
SMCDB, an organisation created to promote smart meters, found that 84% of people had heard of smart meters, however, just 44% said they would be interested in having one installed.
To date, approximately 1m meters have been installed, primarily by British Gas, with the full roll-out to start in late 2015.
UK roll-out by 2020
The government-led smart meter roll-out is projected to cost £11bn and is expected to be completed by 2020. Energy companies are responsible for installing smart meters, however, customers can refuse to have one installed in their home.
Advocates of smart meters say the devices will help customers gain control of their energy bills, as well as put an end to estimated energy bills. Smart meters automatically send readings to energy suppliers and allow users to better understand their energy consumption, by providing them with real time usage figures.
Most consumers don’t trust energy suppliers
The research also found that more than half of energy customers did not trust energy suppliers.Chief Executive of the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body, Sacha Deshmukh said that smart meters would be vital in restoring trust to the energy market.
“Antiquated systems for recording energy use and managing billing are no longer fit for purpose. Households need to be able to take control of their energy use and bills”, said Deshmukh.
[Smart meters] will create newly empowered consumers
Speaking on the research, Deshmukh said: “Households need to be able to take control of their energy use and bills. For this to happen, the national smart meter roll-out is the essential transformation of the technology we use to buy energy.
“It will create newly empowered consumers, and increase trust in those who sell us gas and electricity – and our research bears this out.
“Almost half of consumers told us that they are interested in having a smart meter installed in their homes. That is why it is so important that government is driving forward the programme to install smart meters across Great Britain and has brought together all the electricity and gas suppliers and networks to deliver this critical upgrade to the energy infrastructure in all of our homes.”
‘More in control and better able to manage their energy’
Ann Robinson, Consumer Policy Director at uSwitch, said: “With trust in the energy industry at an all-time low and people finding it difficult to afford the energy they need, it is high time that we now get on and deliver the smart meter programme.
“Our own research backs up today’s findings – that people using smart meters have a higher level of trust in their energy suppliers and experience greater customer satisfaction. They also feel more in control and better able to manage their energy usage.
“Energy companies are amongst the worst offenders for getting bills wrong – in fact a fifth of homes have received incorrect bills over the last two years. With energy accounting for the biggest chunk of household spend after the rent or mortgage, this is incredibly frustrating. The move to smart meters will ensure that people receive accurate, up-to-date bills based on their actual usage. But in the meantime it’s important that we all continue to provide our suppliers with regular meter readings.”