More smart meter owners report higher bills than savings

Having a smart meter installed at home very seldom means lower energy bills, according to new survey findings published by leading electrotechnical trade body, ECA.

In the ECA’s recent YouGov survey of adults who are eligible for a smart meter, just one in 14 respondents with a smart meter (7%) said that having one had reduced their energy bills, while one in 11 (9%) said they had increased. This is despite one in four (23%) reporting that the main reason for having a smart meter installed was to reduce their energy bills.

Overall, nearly half of respondents (47%) said they were ‘very unlikely’ to have a smart meter installed during the next 12 months, with 20% ‘fairly unlikely’ to do so. Just 5% of respondents said they were ‘very likely’ to do so, with a further 13% ‘fairly likely’ to have one installed in the next year.

ECA Energy Advisor, Luke Osborne, comments, “These ECA findings suggest that smart meter users seldom report lower energy bills – which seems at odds with the Government’s ‘save money’ message. Smart meters can play a role in stimulating a shift towards a lower carbon future. However, the Government needs to do far more to incentivise change and explain the benefits of using smart meters if they are to increase consumer confidence and take-up in the near future.”

While 61% of smart meter owners reported that they had no issues with their smart meter, almost half (45%) reported they had experienced no benefits in having one. The benefit that came out on top for respondents with a smart meter was more accurate billing (29%), while one in 11 (9%) cited connectivity issues as a problem.

Furthermore, fear of data breaches and cyber-attacks came out as the top reason (30% of respondents) for not getting a smart meter, among those unlikely to do so. However, of those with a smart meter, less than 1% reported any issue with data security or hacking.

Osborne adds, “Public awareness of data security has increased significantly recently. These ECA findings show that the Government must do more to explain to the public why smart meters do not present a security risk from hacking or other data breaches.”

Less than one in three adults who are eligible for a smart meter (32%) surveyed have a smart meter installed, despite a Government commitment for all UK homes to have one by 2020.

  • Show Comments

  • Paul Voisey

    I’ve got a smart meter in my car. It gives real time info on how much fuel I’m using. When I concentrate on this instead of all the other things I should be concentrating on whilst driving I expect my fuel consumption to be better. IS IT? No of course it isn’t average MPG over a tank of fuel is the same. The difference when there is any is due to other factors not the ability to act on the info showing in the display.

    Also the accuracy of billing is a myth as any discrepancy due to an estimated meter reading is corrected as soon as an actual reading is obtained.

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