Last edited 01 Feb 2021

Main author

ECA Institute / association Website

Smart meter owners report higher, not lower, bills

Smart meter.jpg
Having a smart meter installed at home very seldom means lower energy bills, according to new survey findings published on April 2, 2019 by electrotechnical trade body the Electrical Contractors' Association (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.

[edit] ECA comment

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 cyber attacks 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 surveyed who are eligible for a smart meter (32%) have a smart meter installed, despite a government commitment for all UK homes to have one by 2020.

[edit] About this article

This article was written by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and first appeared on its website in April 2019. It can be accessed here.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki


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