In attempt to boost public support for the national roll-out of smart meters in 27 million homes, a new publicity campaign has just been launched.
The Smart Energy GB campaign is fronted by Bob Geldof, accompanied by two colourful mascots -‘Gaz’ and ‘Leccy’ – and is designed to show the British public the benefits of switching to smart meters.
Although the introduction of these mascots seems to be trying to make the concept of smart meters more ‘fun’, consumers should consider smart meters from all angles before choosing whether to install one.
Are smart meters the future?
Many people believe that digitalised smart meters are a natural progression from traditional ‘dumb’ energy meters. Gone will be the days of estimated bills and meter readers, as your smart meter will be connected to a national network, directly sending details of your gas and electricity usage to your energy supplier and allowing for precise bills every time.
Smart Energy GB, the organisation behind the campaign, says it created ‘Gaz’ and ‘Leccy’ to ‘bring to life the frustration many people feel about the way we all buy and use gas and electricity’.
It is hoped that publicising the potential benefits of smart meters will help consumers accept the £11bn investment in smart meters that will eventually be recouped through their own energy bills.
What are the real benefits of smart meters?
Energy companies should benefit from lower costs as they will no longer need to visit homes to read meters and there should be fewer billing complaints. For consumers, smart meters should be able to provide accurate not estimated bills. The meters will show you exactly how much gas and electricity you are using and could help you cut how much you use.
But there are still some doubts over how much money smart meters will actually save consumers on their energy bills. The government has predicted average annual savings of £26 for dual fuel households by 2020. Whether those savings are realised depends on whether the energy companies pass on to customers their cost savings and whether individual consumers actually use the information on their smart meter to try and reduce their consumption.
If you want some quick tips on cutting your energy use now, see our guide on how to use less electricity.