The national campaign for the smart meter rollout, Smart Energy GB, has released its latest batch of research into the attitudes and opinions towards smart meters from across the country.
Five million smart meters have already been installed across England, Scotland and Wales as part of a supplier-led government initiative to upgrade the country’s energy infrastructure.
Twenty-six million homes in total are meant to be offered smart meters by 2020.
Lower income households more likely to recommend
The latest findings suggest eight in ten consumers with smart meters would recommend them to a friend or family member. This figure rises to 88% for those from lower income backgrounds.
The ability to see pounds and pence spend on a smart meter’s IHD can help households to monitor their energy usage better, and cut back on the things that are increasing their energy bill. The report states this is the most appealing of smart meters across all demographics.
Another benefit that is popular amongst users of smart meters, is the process of automatically receiving accurate bills, rather than estimated. This is one of the most widely publicised benefits of the new meters and could reduce the amount of people who unknowingly get into credit or debt with their supplier through not providing meter readings.
33% now know what a smart meter is
Understanding of what a smart meter does has increased from six months ago (30%) to 33%.
Despite the 2020 deadline and widespread marketing campaigns, it seems there are still black spots with lower understanding in particular areas of the country; London has the lowest percentage of understanding at just one in four having a detailed knowledge of smart meters.
This lack in understanding could be down to the area’s high level of renters, who would be more detached from their home’s energy usage and meters. However, it is in fact a renter’s decision on whether or not they want a smart meter when offered by a supplier, assuming they are responsible for paying the energy bills.
Interest in using energy when it’s cheapest
The data from a smart meter has the ability for suppliers to offer time of use tariffs. These energy rates would be cheaper at certain times of the day so those with smart meters could adapt energy usage accordingly. 29% of people surveyed said choosing to use energy at times that were cheaper was an appealing factor of smart meters.
15% also claimed the new meters would help them to choose a better deal.
Long-term, smart meters may make switching easier — but currently some smart meters turn back to credit meters that require manual reading when switching away from the supplier who installed them.
Additionally, along with other suppliers who announced price increases — ScottishPower blamed wholesale price increases alongside the cost of the smart meter rollout for their recent price hike.