Half of energy customers in U.K. have heard of smart meters


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 27, 2012 – Almost half of energy bill-payers living in Great Britain have heard of smart meters and a third expressed support for the installation of smart meters in every home in the country, while one in five were opposed, according to a new countrywide survey.

Interestingly one in twenty claimed to having a smart meters installed, although this is clearly an overestimate, principally due to a failing to understand what a smart meter is.

The survey, which was conducted for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), is the first in a series aimed to assess changing attitudes to smart meters over time. It involved almost 2,400 face-to-face interviews.

Other findings were that the top perceived benefits of having a smart meter installed included being able to better manage household finances, to help avoid waste, and to produce a greater accuracy of billing. Perceived disadvantages included cost (either to themselves, the taxpayer, the government or the energy companies) and data security. Positively, the more respondents felt they knew about smart meters the more likely they were to support their rollout and want one.

Customers were also generally positive about in-home displays. More than half of those who claimed to have a in-home display said they looked at it at least occasionally. However, not everyone who received an in-home display is using it, with just under half of the customers who said they had one either never looking at it or not installing it.

Fewer than a third of the interviewees expressed an information need around smart meters and in-home displays. However, this was higher among certain groups including the middle-aged, larger households, and those who do not speak English as their first language. The most common information needs include functionality, costs and benefits. The main sources of information included the energy companies, internet search engines, and word of mouth.

Further surveys will be conducted in October 2012 and April 2013.