Less than one-third of British consumers have heard of smart meter plans


Garry Felgate,
Chief Executive,
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 5, 2009 – As the British government’s three month consultation period on proposals for introducing smart metering to homes across the nation concludes, a new survey has found that less than one-third of energy consumers have heard of the plans.

The survey of 2,014 adults in England for the Energy Retail Association (ERA) by Populus found that 62 percent of the respondents said they had not seen or heard about government plans for energy companies to introduce smart meters into U.K. households. In addition 32 percent said they had not heard of smart meters at all, while 36 percent said they had heard of smart meters but weren’t sure what they are, and only 32 percent said they had heard of smart meters and know what they are.

Nevertheless 90 percent of the respondents said they had taken steps to save energy over the past year. The vast majority, 94 percent had turned off unused appliances and lights and 86 percent had switched to energy saving light bulbs, while 34 percent had bought more energy efficient household items and 30 percent had installed extra loft or wall insulation or double glazing.

The majority (80 percent and more) also thought that all of these measures would be effective in helping them save energy, while just under half thought smart meters would be effective in increasing energy efficiency in the home.

Commenting on the results, Garry Felgate, chief executive of the ERA, said they present the government and the regulator Ofgem with a major challenge for educating households about the rollout of smart meters and the advantages that smart meters will herald.

“It is worrying that our research reveals that two-thirds of people are unsure of what smart meters are,” said Felgate, adding that time is of the essence. “The longer we wait for a response from government, the longer will be the delay before smart meters can be installed and customers can start saving money on their bills. It’s time to get the ball rolling.”