UK-Smart-meter-roll-out MPs say costly failure

UK price comparison service uSwitch has come out in support of smart metering technology and its benefits for the consumer by revealing results of a survey of smart meter users.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, told the Guardian that: “When uSwitch carried out a survey of smart meter users, we found that half of them were using the smart energy monitor to reduce their energy use.

“People quickly learn to switch lights off in an empty room, to stop leaving their phone on charge through the night, or to make sure their teenager’s games console isn’t left running when not in use. And seeing how much you’re paying in real time is the perfect incentive not to leave the appliances like the TV on standby.”

Consumer control

Ms Robinson also talked about smart meters giving consumers “the same kind of control over their energy use as they have other their bank account or car”.

She said: “Smart meters will enable us all to see just how much energy we’re using in the same way that we can see how much money is in our bank account or how much petrol we’ve got left in the tank.

A smart meter can also make you think twice about the hidden costs of new purchases, said Robinson in the interview targeted at UK consumers. “If you realise that the new plasma TV is going to cost GBP150 a year to run, you may opt for a less energy-intensive model.”

uSwitch, which has been active in campaigning for better customer service from the UK’s big six energy suppliers, is supporting smart meters at a time when the technology has taken a public bashing following the Public Accounts Committee’s cost-benefit analysis.

The committee’s review estimated that consumers will make a 2 per cent saving on energy bills for an investment of GBP215 per household for a smart meter unit.

It also suggested that in-home displays could be redundant technology by the time the national rollout is completed in 2020.

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