The rules apply to any energy firm fitting a smart meter, and requires them to offer customers a free energy display unit to help them monitor their energy costs.
Due to be rolled out across the UK smart meters, which will replace normal meters, are designed to send automatic updates about your energy use to your energy supplier, putting an end to estimated bills.
An energy display then displays information from the smart meter to help households monitor their usage and identify where they are using the most electricity.
Take up encouraged
According to Zoe McLeod, Head of Smart & Sustainable Energy Markets at Consumer Focus, the key is in the usability of the device : “We encourage customers to take up the offer of an energy display.
“While having a display doesn’t guarantee you bill savings it can help identify what appliances are costing the most, where there is waste and how you can be more energy efficient. The display should be set up by your installer in a location of your choice so it is ready to use.
“The energy industry does not have a great track record on usability of products, with hard to use boiler controls an example. So minimum standards and a collaborative approach with industry on displays is particularly welcome.”
John Parson, Association Director of BEAMA’s Consumer Energy Display Industry Group (CEDIG), said that energy displays could cut as much of 9% off an electricity bill by enabling customers to make more informed choices about how much energy they are using.
“Energy displays have proven highly successful in helping consumers to reduce electricity consumption with international studies suggesting that average annual electricity savings of almost 9% can be achieved for customers supplied with in-home displays, with the right education and engagement campaigns.”
Smart or invasive?
Smart meters have had their own share of controversy, with many campaigners concerned about energy suppliers having detailed information about a household’s energy use.
As the government decides on the details of the long-awaited ‘Green Deal’, aimed at improving energy efficiency in UK homes, there are rumours that a standardised smart meter will be developed to enable customers to switch supplier without switching meter.
While the initial cost of smart meters will be around £11.5bn, government figures suggest the benefits could save households to £25.3bn. Overall, it is predicted to save households around £65 a year off their energy bills.
What is a smart meter? – Learn all about smart meters, including the benefits they can bring and why they are so controversial.
Top ways to save energy for free – Our selection of tips and tricks to save energy around the home.