Energy suppliers 'should pay for smart meters'Consumers aren't prepared to spend on meters

14 July 2010

Nine in ten people say energy suppliers should pay for smart meters if they are set to make savings from the scheme, according to new research from Which?

The smart meter roll out is predicted to cost £8.6 billion - a bill that consumers are expected to pay - and the switch over alone won't save customers money off their energy bills. Our smart meters explained page has information on smart meters and details how they work.

Smart meters

Smart meters, in their most basic form, don't provide consumers with any energy use data, they simply feed information on your energy use back to your energy provider. This cuts suppliers' costs by eliminating the need for bills and meter readings.

Around four in five people (83%) are not prepared to pay any additional cost to have a smart meter installed in their home.

Savings for energy suppliers

Government figures released in December 2009 show that smart meters will save energy suppliers at least £306 million a year. Any potential savings for consumers will depend on whether these savings are passed on and whether consumers change their behaviour.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: 'Understandably, people don’t see why they should pay for something that will save energy companies hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

'There’s an assumption that smart meters will automatically slash people’s bills but a smart meter isn’t going to insulate your house or follow you around turning lights and appliances off. Smart meters will only help people save money if they’re able to monitor their energy use and can cut back on their consumption.'

Energy monitors

Unlike smart meters, energy monitors provide real time information that allows you to manage your energy use. Have a look at our energy monitors review to compare features and see which three Best Buy monitors we'd recommend. 

If you're not sure whether you're getting the best deal from your supplier, Which? Switch can help you see whether you're paying over the odds for your gas and electricity.

Free smart meters

British Gas has already started rolling out smart meters to some of its customers free of charge - proof, says Which?, that competing energy companies can absorb the cost of the scheme without charging customers.

See how British Gas compares with suppliers such as Eon, Scottish Power, EDF, Npower and SSE on bills, value and customer service in our customer satisfaction survey results.

This independent research comes as Ofgem and the government prepare to publish their smart meter prospectus later this month.

Lower your gas and electricity bills

You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

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