Smart meters have limited impact on consumer energy usage reveals study


A new study released by the UK’s University of Keele states that smart meters have little impact on reducing consumer energy usage.

Although previous studies on energy usage consumption suggested that direct energy feedback could result in reductions of up to 15% in energy usage, the new study estimates that reductions in energy usage and costs may be as low as 2%.

UK consumers also have a limited awareness around energy efficiency strategies and opportunities for more visual, mobile, engaging and target-driven interfaces for energy data.

This is despite previous reports stating that majority of UK consumers are aware of the smart metering technology, AMI data, benefits, and energy efficiency.

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The study has also revealed that environmental concerns are not a key driver of energy reduction behaviors. This is so because consumers feel a reduction in their energy consumption would have very little impact on the environment.

Consumers’ concerns of smart meters, and indirectly energy feedback relate to the loss of control or privacy, mistrust of profit-driven energy suppliers and negative perceptions on how energy feedback could affect their lives.

The researchers – Professor Zhong Fan, Dr Sandra Woolley, Dr Ed de Quincey and David Fredericks from Keele’s School of Computing and Mathematics – obtained these insights by conducting a series of focus group interviews with postgraduate consumers.

The project was funded by the Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) programme, in collaboration with Connexica.

Professor Fan said: “This project, part of the SEND programme, is a first step towards understanding people’s perception of smart meters and energy feedback.”

Other study findings are available here.