Smart meters GB: customer confusion is hindering engagement, says poll


Smart-meter-GB-consumer confusionUK consumers want the benefits associated with smart meters but are confused about the advanced technology, a new poll by market research company YouGov and software quality consultant SQS has shown.

The recent online study of more than 2,000 adults showed that energy customers strongly support statements about what smart meters can deliver but are pessimistic about the value of the physical meter to their household, suggesting that public awareness of the new technology is still limited.

The data shows 28% of UK consumers believe smart meters will benefit them while more than a third of respondents believed energy companies would get the most advantage.

Smart meter benefits

But more positively for suppliers, respondents were in favour of the benefits that smart meters can bring.

Half (52%) said they would welcome services, tariffs and others that reflect how they actually use energy.

Nearly half (48%) said they wanted accurate billing they can trust and a further 44% said they wanted a clear understanding of what appliances within the home use the most electricity.

Customer-supplier relationship

The poll also suggests a lack of trust in current energy suppliers is a deterrent to customer engagement with smart metering technology.

One in three doubted that their energy company would successfully deploy smart metering technology based on inaccurate billing, poor customer service and delays in fault management.

When asked if new suppliers that are eager to prove themselves could provide a better service, 41% agreed.

Commenting on the survey findings, Angus Panton, director of power and communications at SQS, said: “Our study shows that consumers want targeted, value-added services and greater control over their energy use, but don’t always trust their existing provider to deliver.

“There is widespread cynicism about the viability of big IT projects and 62% doubt smart metering will happen in the shifting timeframes. Despite the cynicism, there is an overall customer desire for the advantages and benefits smart meters will deliver.”