Having a smart meter installed at home very seldom means lower energy bills, according to new survey findings published by leading electrotechnical trade body ECA.
In the ECA’s recent YouGov survey of adults who are eligible for a smart meter, just 1 in 14 respondents with a smart meter (7%) said that having one had reduced their energy bills, while 1 in 11 (9%) said they had increased. This is despite 1 in 4 (23%) reporting that the main reason for having a smart meter installed was to reduce their energy bills.
Overall, nearly half of respondents (47%) said they were ‘very unlikely’ to have a smart meter installed during the next 12 months, with 20% ‘fairly unlikely’ to do so. Just 5% of respondents said they were ‘very likely’ to do so, with a further 13% ‘fairly likely’ to have one installed in the next year.
ECA Energy Advisor Luke Osborne commented: “These ECA findings suggest that smart meter users seldom report lower energy bills – which seems at odds with the Government’s ‘save money’ message.
“Smart meters can play a role in stimulating a shift towards a lower carbon future. However, the Government needs to do far more to incentivise change and explain the benefits of using smart meters if they are to increase consumer confidence and take-up in the near future.”
While 61% of smart meter owners reported that they had ‘no issues’ with their smart meter, almost half (45%) reported they had experienced ‘no benefits’ in having one. The benefit that came out on top for respondents with a smart meter was ‘more accurate billing’ (29%), while 1 in 11 (9%) cited ‘connectivity issues’ as a problem.
Furthermore, fear of data breaches and cyberattacks came out as the top reason (30% of respondents) for not getting a smart meter, among those unlikely to do so. However, of those with a smart meter, less than 1% reported any issue with data security or hacking.
Luke Osborne added: “Public awareness of data security has increased significantly recently. These ECA findings show that the Government must do more to explain to the public why smart meters do not present a security risk from hacking or other data breaches.”
Less than 1 in 3 adults who are eligible for a smart meter (32%) surveyed have a smart meter installed, despite a Government commitment for all UK homes to have one by 2020.