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Smart Energy GB publishes Smart meters and energy usage: a survey of energy behaviour before and after upgrading to a smart meter - October 2017

26 October 2017

Research published by Smart Energy GB today shows the positive impact of smart meters on how people are using energy in their homes – and how the benefits of having a smart meter continue over time.

There are more smart meters – now more than 7.7 million - across Britain than ever before, showing us how much energy we’re using in near real-time in pounds and pence via a handheld display. Smart meters and energy usage, carried out by Populus, shows that the large majority of people with a smart meter (86%) make energy saving changes to their behaviour and this enthusiasm is maintained during the months and years after a smart meter installation.

The research asked people about a range of energy saving actions and found, for example, that nearly four in ten (39%) people with a smart meter fitted energy efficient lightbulbs immediately after having one installed, and that this figure increased to more than two in three (67%) of those who had their smart meter for more than two years.  It also found that more than three-quarters of people (77%) said they were doing as much as they could to save energy immediately after getting their smart meter, this figure rising to 83% for those who had had their smart meter for longer than two years.

Additionally, the research shows that those who may experience additional barriers to getting their smart meter installed, or to using their smart meter, such as being a tenant, using prepay methods or being off gas grid, are more likely to report that they are saving money on energy than audiences without. Those with ‘personal physical’ barriers, such as mobility impairment or being partially sighted, report doing more energy saving activities than those with other, or no additional barriers.

Claire Maugham, Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Energy GB, said: “This research shows that smart meters are bringing real changes to people’s bills for the millions of homes who’ve already had theirs installed – and that we’re using our smart meters to make positive changes to our energy behaviour more and more, the longer we have them.

“If you’re still using an analogue gas or electricity meter, you don’t yet have the information you need to get energy under control. The national rollout of smart meters is bringing our energy system up to date, transforming how we use energy in our homes and building a reliable and secure energy supply for Great Britain. It’s no wonder that nearly half of British adults who don’t yet have a smart meter – that’s more than 20 million people – say they would like to have their smart meter installed in the next six months so they can feel the benefits right away.”

The research was carried out for Smart Energy GB by Populus who surveyed 2,332 adults aged 21+ in May 2017 about their energy use. The full report can be read here.

Notes to editors: Case study

N.B. this case study is for illustrative purposes and not an object of the research.

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 the most energy.

Robert, from Ayrshire said, “My smart meter was installed shortly after I switched energy suppliers, 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.” 

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

The full report Smart meters and energy usage: a survey of energy behaviour before and after upgrading to a smart meter is available here.

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the voice of the smart meter rollout. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit our website smartenergyGB.org

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 7.7 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered one at no additional cost. Contact your energy supplier today about installing your smart meter. 

Smart Energy GB media contacts

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team: 

Smart Energy GB:

Ben Welling: [email protected]; 0203 019 1063