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Struggling Brits turn to technology for a sense of control

  • 47% of Brits on a low income feel out of control when it comes to their daily lives
  • 50% feel more out of control now than they did two years ago
  • 66% cite high energy prices as the reason for feeling an increased lack of control
  • 66% say technology plays a part in helping them feel more in control
  • Smart meters, online banking and instant messaging apps are the top three pieces of tech people couldn’t live without.

Friday 17th June 2022:  Nearly half (47 per cent) of Brits on a low income feel out of control when it comes to their day-to-day lives, according to a new survey released today by Smart Energy GB, with 91 per cent regularly worrying about how they will afford the rising cost of living.

The poll of 1,000 adults with an annual household income of less than £16,500, found that monthly bills top the area of life where most people feel out of control (59 per cent), followed by income (49 per cent), energy use (45 per cent) and debt (37%.)

Half of respondents (50 per cent) claimed to feel more out of control now than they did two years ago, with two thirds (66 per cent) blaming high energy prices, 65 per cent citing the rising cost of day-to-day essentials and 61 per cent pointing to high food prices as the reason. High fuel costs (46 per cent) and mental health issues (36%) were also referenced as contributing factors.

But technology plays a big role when it comes to a feeling of being a little bit more in control according to two thirds (66 per cent) of those surveyed, with banking apps (53 per cent) named as the top tech that families rely on.

Smart meters were also a popular piece of tech, with a third (32 per cent) saying they use the digital energy devices to help them feel more in control. A smart meter’s in-home display shows you in pounds and pence and in near-real time how much energy is being used, helping you to stay on top of your energy spend. Prepay smart meters also make it easier for customers to top up via their mobile, online or at the shop and with smart meters in prepay mode, consumers can clearly see when they are close to using their emergency credit.

Having no access to technology would make more than a quarter (28 per cent) feel less in control of their lives. Smart meters, online banking and instant messaging apps were cited as the top three pieces of tech these families couldn’t live without.

The survey also found that 30 per cent have online chats with family and friends when times get tough, and 27 per cent use Martin Lewis’s free Money Saving Expert website to help them feel a bit more in control.

Zoe Aston, one of the UK's leading Psychotherapists, said:

“We’re in some really difficult times right now. Energy prices are still rising and there is very little that any of us feel able to do about it. However, there are some small things, such as banking apps and smart meters, that can help you feel a little less vulnerable around your finances right now.

“While technology can’t change anyone’s ability to pay their bills, there are certain tools and devices that can help us to make more informed decisions about our finances or energy use. 

“Smart meters in particular are a helpful tool. If you don’t know how much you are spending on energy day-to-day then the bill can sometimes come as a nasty shock. Being able to see how much you’re spending on the smart meter in-home-display can help you feel empowered to make decisions at a time when they will be effective.

“Paying attention to the reality of what’s happening and making informed decisions based on accurate information, means we are approaching our lives from a balanced and healthy place.”

Smart Energy GB has come up with a list of technology that can help people feel a bit more in control of their lives and finances. Victoria Bacon, a director at the organisation, said:

“It is a very difficult time for many households at the moment and there are no easy answers, but technology can certainly be beneficial in offering people a bit more control over certain aspects of their lives, For example, smart meters can be a really helpful tool for helping people to feel a bit more in control, providing visibility on their energy use and avoiding the uncertainties of estimated bills.

“They are available at no additional cost once you have an appointment booked with your supplier, the installation process is  straightforward, usually taking an average of just two hours.”

If you are concerned about paying your energy bill, speak to your supplier to find out what support is available and to check if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. If you live in England contact Energy Saving Trust or National Energy Action for free, impartial advice and to check your eligibility for funding options. In Scotland contact Home Energy Scotland and in Wales, the Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest scheme offers advice and support on energy efficiency, money management and tariffs.

To have a look at our list of tech that can help you take back control, click here.

Contact your energy supplier to request your smart meter installation, or visit to find out more.