A survey undertaken by Smart Energy GB, the company behind promotion of the smart meter rollout, has found that people who have had a smart meter for over two years have a better understanding of how to save energy at home.
The study, which involved surveying more than 2300 homeowners, found that the smart meter rollout was instigating a positive change in people’s behaviour regarding saving energy. They also found that people not only continue to be conscious of their energy habits after installation but that the longer you have one, the greater the impact.
The researchers questioned people about a range of energy saving initiatives and found almost four out of 10 who had a smart meter installed energy saving lightbulbs right after having a smart meter put in. The number rose when people had had a smart meter for more than 2 years, with 67% putting in energy saving bulbs. The study also showed that three quarters of people did everything in their power to save energy once having a smart meter put in, this number rose to 83 % when they had had it for over 2 years.
There 7.7 million smart meters currently installed around the UK, however there are some who doubt whether the government’s goal of having 26 million by 2020 is realistic. Despite this, previous surveys conducted by the body have reported generally high levels of customer satisfaction, with 81 per cent saying they would recommend, and 82 per cent changing their behaviour since having one installed.
However, a report which was recently released by the University of Sussex has come to a completely different conclusion. According to the university, low consumer engagement is hindering the smart meter rollout, which is estimated to be costing the government around £11bn. Despite a marketing campaign that has costed £100m the smart meter rollout has failed to hits targets, especially in the cases of vulnerable people.
Profession Benjamin Sovacool, director of the Sussex Energy Group and lead author of the study said.
“We have recently seen how the government had to backtrack on its ambitions to make installation in every home obligatory; they are basically admitting a degree of failure.”
“This is a clear sign that they need to improve consumer engagement and the provision of information about the benefits of the technology. This is especially true when it comes to vulnerable classes of people, such as the elderly and those less educated.”
After a year of the Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) energy companies had only put smart meters in 7% of households. To put things in perspective that would mean that to achieve government targets, energy providers would need to install 40,000 per day for the remainder of the programme.
Smart Energy GB responded to the university of Sussex, saying: “This research contains serious inaccuracies and omissions which paint a misleading picture of the smart meter rollout and the benefits to consumers.
“Millions of people around the country are already using smart meters to bring their energy bills down. They are fitted at no additional cost, exactly as our old analogue meters were. The government’s most recent cost benefit analysis shows that by 2020 the average household will see annual savings on their energy bills of around £11 increasing to around £47 by 2030 thanks to the smart meter rollout. The government and Ofgem have said that they expect energy suppliers to pass any savings onto consumers.”