How smart are smart energy meters? - UK

This post is by Stuart Morris, Strategic Account Director at Teleperformance UK.

Smart meters have been around for some time now and most people appreciate the benefits. The customer feels they have more control over their utility use when they can actually see what they are consuming and the utility benefits from being able to bill accurately for consumption – rather than using estimates and then needing to manage customer complaints about too much or little being charged.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is very supportive of the widespread adoption of metering because they see it as better for the environment and giving consumers more control over their energy use. The government wants to see 53 million meters replaced or installed by 2020 and is urging the energy companies to get on with the job.

One consumer benefit that might not be supported so enthusiastically by the energy companies is that with very accurate consumption information, switching company is far easier. And three of the big six energy companies are disputing the government targets – suggesting that the government plan is going to add £1.8bn onto bills that customers will have to pay.

In one recent trail undertake in London it was found that only 15% of customers actually want a smart meter. Many customers just don’t believe that they will make enormous savings because of an increased awareness of the energy they are using.

And some consumers are even more vociferous in their campaigning against smart meters, believing that there is a far wider agenda being played out that involves getting every home onto a connected grid – with alleged privacy and health risks.

The problem is becoming more complex and involves billions of pounds. The government really should sit with the big six energy companies and agree on the best way to achieve the 2020 target. And this agreement needs to come before those in Westminster start turning their attention to the next general election.


Photo by Lynn Friedman licensed under Creative Commons

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