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Some answers to questions about Smart Energy GB

15th March 2019

The Daily Mail has contacted us to ask a series of questions about our organisation, our campaign and budget and our advertising

So instead of simply sharing this information with the Daily Mail we are publishing it here for anyone to see. 

Q: When and how was Smart Energy GB set up? 

Smart Energy GB is a not for profit company.  Our objectives were set out in law, and approved by Parliament in December 2012.  The company was then established in spring 2013.  We are governed by a board made up of representatives of energy consumers, Citizens Advice, and energy suppliers, with an independent Chair.  

Q: How is Smart Energy GB funded? 

We are funded by energy suppliers, with their contributions to our funding determined by their market share of the domestic energy market.  Every year our board proposes to energy suppliers its view of the necessary scale of Smart Energy GB activity and accompanying level of budget for the next year, which has been developed through a process reflecting the National Audit Office’s Value for Money model.  This is then scrutinised by energy suppliers, who confirm through a formal approval ballot that they agree that the information presented to them by the board detailing the proposed scale of activity and budget is consistent with the legal requirements on Smart Energy GB to be effective and value for money in our activities.

Q: What have you spent so far, what was your budget in 2018 and what is your budget for 2019?

From 2013 to the end of 2018, we have spent a total of £157.3 million. 

In 2018 we spent £47.1 million, which equates to £1.78 per household.

In 2019 our budget is £48.4 million, which equates to £1.83 per household.  Every year our budget is published on our website.  Details of our 2019 plans and budget can be seen at: https://www.smartenergygb.org/en/about-us/essential-documents

Q: How much of our budget is spent on staff salaries and how much on the senior leadership team?

Total staff costs (81 people) in 2018 were £4.8 million (including all emoluments, pension contributions, and employer’s national insurance).  

In 2018 our senior leadership team was made up of the Chief Executive, Chief Marketing Officer, Director of Finance and Operations, Director of Marketing, Director of Corporate Affairs, and Deputy Director of Marketing.  Total staff costs for the senior leadership team in 2018 were £832,000 (including all emoluments, pension contributions, and employer’s national insurance).  

Q: You use celebrities in your campaigns, why is this value for money?

When we create adverts or buy advertising space we always try to get the best value for money we can. 

Working with celebrities, who have a large public following, allows us to take our message to people in a compelling and cost effective way. Celebrity endorsement is an accepted and effective way of marketing.

In 2018 we spent £683,000 (or 1.4% of our total budget) on paying celebrities to be our spokespeople, appear in or voice over our adverts. 

Q: Have you ever had an ad banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)?

We have been in operation since 2013 and in that time only one complaint has been upheld by the ASA.  

On 6 March 2019, the ASA agreed with us that our most recent campaign is accurate in stating that if we all get a smart meter we could save enough energy to power Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle. 

In the same decision, ASA ruled on a technical point around the use of terms and conditions and disclaimers in one radio advert. We are appealing their decision. 

Q: You use advertorials, how are you sure they are appropriate? 

Advertorial – where an advertiser pays a newspaper for space to carry content is standard practice across the advertising industry and regulated by the ASA. All of our advertorials are clearly marked as such.  

In the six years we have been operating the ASA has never undertaken a formal investigation and ruling into any of our advertorials. 

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive, Smart Energy GB, said: 

“I am proud of the work we do and of our people who make it happen. 

“We are guided by the best practice in marketing and communications in designing and delivering our campaign. It is this that helps us create an effective, value for money and thoroughly evaluated campaign.”

 

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They enable accurate bills, near real time information on energy use in pounds and pence, and greater control over the way we buy and use energy. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure.

There are already almost 12.8 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered one at no extra cost. Contact your energy supplier about getting your smart meter.