Blog > Smart meters - an opportunity slipping away?

 

Smart meters - an opportunity slipping away?

Friday 16th March 2012

A new survey from uSwitch announced this week has again highlighted how consumers are still unaware of the potential benefits of the smart meter roll out. The research highlights that less than half (45%) know what a smart meter is while a third (35%) have heard of smart meters but have no idea what they do.

On the other hand consumers are aware of the issues with over four in ten (42%) concerned about the cost of the roll-out while three in ten (30%) say that helping older or vulnerable households to understand the new technology will be an issue.

Clearly these figures do not reflect well on how any of the stakeholders in the smart meter roll out have communicated the importance of smart meters to energy consumers. As Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com commented: “the priority now has to be to educate British householders. Delaying this will result in consumers seeing all cost and no gain and could reduce their co-operation when the time comes for the meters to be installed.”

Fortunately there is much that can be done before the full roll out to give consumers this education. Whether that is changes to billing systems and the information provided to users on their bills, or in introducing new services and technology as part of a ‘pre-smart meter’ stage there is much being worked on by the energy sector.

However, it is critical that these changes are implemented as soon as possible. The full roll out is due to commence in 2014 and the consumer response uncovered by uSwitch must have been overturned by that time, otherwise smart meters could indeed fall by the wayside.

 

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