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Research Concludes Utilities Failing to Educate Consumers about Smart Meters, Grid

20 Mar 2012

A new study by uSwitch found that less than half of British consumers know what a smart meter is, and less than a third know what they do. The data prompts uSwitch to note: “With households due to be footing the £11 billion cost of roll-out, keeping consumers in the dark could end up costing them dear.

The report also found that only 19 percent of respondents are completely happy with their current level of knowledge about smart meters; 52 percent of those who have heard of smart meters say the media has been their main source of information, with only 14 percent getting information from their energy supplier in the last year. In addition, just 44 percent of consumers believe smart meters will help them to understand their energy usage and in turn make lifestyle and behavioral changes to reduce their consumption. And a significant 42 percent are worried about their privacy.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy notes, “Smart meters have the potential to transform the way people think about and manage their household energy bills. But without better communication and information we are in danger of seeing consumers switched off before the meters are even switched on. The success of this £11 billion scheme hinges on consumer engagement and yet they are being left to flounder in a sea of myths and misunderstandings.”

In response, British Gas Managing Director of British Gas Smart Homes, Dean Keeling says, “The message from British Gas smart meter customers is loud and clear: smart meters are giving them greater control over their energy use and helping them save money. At British Gas we are working hard to help customers make the ‘switch to smart’ and take control of their household energy. There is no question that more needs to be done to help consumers understand the benefits. Smart meters are the quiet revolution in the energy industry. It’s time for change; time for us all to help consumers understand smart meters and how they open the door to a smarter energy future for us all.”