The traffic light system on Robert’s in-home display has made a big difference to his son’s understanding of energy use at home, and has provided Robert himself with a new understanding of which appliances use most energy. Robert is a radio producer and single dad to his nine-year-old son.
My smart meter was installed shortly after I switched energy suppliers – I can never resist a gadget and although at first it seemed too good to be true, I did some research and was reassured to discover that every household in Great Britain was eligible to have one fitted.
My favourite thing is the in-home display. Our old traditional meter was locked away out of sight under the stairs, so it’s great to have a digital display in the living room which provides me with a regular reminder of the amount of energy we are using and what it costs.
The traffic light system on the display has been of particular interest to my son – when we first got the smart meter he took great delight in turning on all our appliances to make the light turn red, and unplugging them again to see when it would turn to amber and then green. He now has a really good understanding of the appliances that use most energy, which has been an unexpected but really positive aspect of having a smart meter.
It has been an educational experience for me as well. I was sure that the TV must waste a lot of energy, but was surprised to find that it uses very little. In contrast, the coffee machine turned out to be one of my most inefficient gadgets. I used to turn the shower on to heat it up before I got in as well, but now I can see how much energy that uses I’m much more careful.
I think the control that smart meters provide is the most important thing. Being able to see what I’m spending makes it much easier to reduce my bills by curbing energy waste, particularly if I’m having a lean few months, and is a really valuable feature of the smart meter.
To hear from Robert himself, click on the video below: