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Most consumers ‘would ignore smart meter info’

Seven in ten wouldn't use extra energy information

A survey of British consumers shows that, even if they had a smart meter, seven in ten would ignore the information it provided.

The research suggests that the roll out of smart meters by 2020 – estimated to cost around £8.6 billion – may not be a solution to genuine consumer demand.

What are smart meters?

If you’re unsure about whether a smart meter would benefit you, Which? has a list of smart meter FAQs to explain what smart meters are and how they could affect your energy bills.

We’ve also reviewed smart meters and energy monitors that you can buy now – compare different features and find out which three we’d recommend in our smart meters and energy monitors review.

Using the energy information

Which? Switch’s Head of Switching Alison Morrison says: ‘We can’t assume that consumers will dramatically change their behaviour simply because a smart meter is installed. Helping consumers save money by showing them how to use the information smartly will be a much stronger incentive for a change in behaviour.’

Smart meters work by sending information about the energy you use back to your energy supplier. They don’t provide bill payers with any information unless the smart meter is fitted with an extra energy monitor to provide real-time costs.

Cost of switching

The government plans for most homes to have a smart meter by 2020. At the moment, the expectation is that consumers will foot the bill to switch over to smart meters – yet it is unclear whether they will benefit from the new system.

Which? is campaigning to pass some smart meter benefits away from the suppliers and into the pockets of consumers.

At the moment, energy suppliers are the only clear winners as they will save on costs associated with meter readings and billing. Smart meters explained contains information on the campaign and what we think needs to change.

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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