Smart meters are advanced, sophisticated tools which are being installed by energy companies in homes and businesses across the country. The rate of installation is set to rise for a five-year period starting in 2014 which will mean that more people will be able to have access to more accurate bills, eliminating the need for inaccurate, estimated bills. Some smart meters even offer information about energy use in real time and it is thought that this will help to encourage households and businesses to save energy.
However, a recent government survey has shown that most British people have not heard of smart meters. Of the almost two and a half thousand people who were questioned in the surveys, 51% reported not having ever heard of the devices. Additionally, 5% of those questioned stated that they owned one, and far from being a positive statistic, it actually seems to suggest that people do not understand what smart meter actually is, because the number of households where they have already been installed is, in reality, much smaller than that.
The same surveys showed that, of those who had heard of the meters, many people were rather disinterested towards them. Almost half had, “no feelings either way” about whether or not they should be installed in every home, and respondents were concerned about how expensive they would be, and whether or not they would pose an infringement of householders’ privacy.
The rollout of the installation of smart meters is expected to save families money on their energy bills by 2020 and the smart meters can also help to reduce energy usage in homes and offices. The meters which show real-time activity in particular can have a really positive impact on energy usage when they are placed somewhere where the whole family can see them.
On a positive note, members of the public who were questioned who had heard of smart meters were considerably more likely to be supportive of the widespread installation of smart meters in homes, so it is thought that educating consumers about the devices will help to reduce confusion and increase support for the scheme.