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Blog Post 18 August 2020 Updated 22 January 2021

The success of smart meters

Back in 2013, the UK Government began its Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) with aims to install smart meters into every UK home. These smart meters measure how much electricity and gas a household is using, as well as an up-to-date cost of this energy use on its display – alleviating the need for estimated energy billing by using a smart data network to send the readings to the household’s energy supplier at least once a month.

This real-time energy use encourages households to reduce energy consumption. According to energy research, pro-actively making small steps to save energy can save each households hundreds of pounds on energy bills every year as well as help regions reach their energy efficiency targets to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Government has estimated that Smart Meters will benefit the UK economy by approximately £16.7 billion between 2013 and 2030. The original deadline for energy suppliers to offer and install smart meters in all UK homes was 2020, however the deadline was revised to 85% of homes by 2024 and has been further pushed back by the government due to the Coronavirus lockdown. As of December 2019, 16.5 million properties had received installations out of 29 million homes in the UK.

How consumers benefit from smart meters and how installers can help

Since smart meters began rolling out across the UK in 2016, providing energy guidance during the installation process became a requirement of the Smart Meter Installation Code of Practice. How well has this been working? A report from Smart Energy GB found that 85% of smart meter households had saved at least some energy due to behavioural change. However, smart meters alone don’t save money, effective advice needs to be given for energy consumers to save energy and this can vary a lot.

Despite the benefits of smart meters, 33% of surveyed energy customers actually disagreed that their smart meter saved them money, saying that it wasn’t as ‘smart’ as they were led to believe. This highlights a communication issue between installers and energy consumers.

Whilst the smart meters were installed correctly, the lack of savings was caused by customers not receiving critical energy saving behavioural advice an effective way, drastically reducing the effectiveness and benefits of the installation. Impartial advice is essential for changing the way that householders use energy, especially if the UK is to reach its net zero target, but finding the best way to impart this information is key to getting customers energy savings.

Smart meter installation training is aligned with the Smart Meter Installation Code of Practise (SMICoP), but to improve the customer recall of energy efficiency advice customers need much more than a quick conversation and a checkbox at the point of installation – it needs to be interactive and unique to the household.

Energy Saving Trust offers a solution to this with an innovative app designed to engage energy consumers and assist smart meter installers by providing the tailored energy saving advice they need at the point of meter installation. With an app available for the consumer and installer, you can ensure the household has access to the information they need to save energy with full access to the tailored advice and savings in a customised report.

The app has now been upgraded to assist installers in adhering to social distancing guidelines. Customers can now download the app themselves, directly onto their smart device and your engineers can now organise the jobs on the installer version of the app.

  • ensure all installers are consistent in offering expert advice
  • ensure your customers receive high quality, tailored advice despite social distancing guidelines
  • ensure your customers can recall receiving memorable advice
  • request a free demo

Looking forward

Ensuring domestic households reduce energy use while staying warm are a key component towards reaching net zero, with up to 17% of total UK carbon emissions coming from residences. Smart meters are a step to reducing this, but memorable energy advice is even more important.

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Last updated: 22 January 2021