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Households encouraged to take up free smart meter energy displays

By Katie Anderson on December 5, 2012

Households have been reminded to request a free energy display whenever a smart meter is installed by their energy supplier. 

Zoe McLeod, who heads the Smart & Sustainable Energy Markets Division at Consumer Focus, urged eligible households to request the display after new rules came into effect. Ms McLeod said: “We encourage customers to take up the offer of an energy display. While having a display doesn’t guarantee you bill savings, it can help identify what appliances are costing the most, where there is waste and how you can be more energy efficient.

“The display should be set up by your installer in a location of your choice so it is ready to use”.

Ms McLeod added that the energy industry has acquired a poor reputation for supplying in-home devices, citing difficult-to-use central heating boiler controls as an example. New regulations impose minimum standards on energy suppliers, so Ms McLeod is hopeful that the industry will improve its track record on this front.

John Parson, director of the Consumer Energy Display Industry Group (CEDIG) at BEAMA (British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association), noted that there is a strong incentive for households to request the free energy displays.

Mr Parson said: “Energy displays have proven highly successful in helping consumers to reduce electricity consumption, with international studies suggesting that average annual electricity savings of almost 9 per cent can be achieved for customers supplied with in-home displays”.

To achieve a 9-per-cent energy saving, Mr Parson added that consumers would require the “right education and engagement campaigns”.

Smart meters have attracted controversy in recent months. Fears that energy suppliers would be able to capture a significant amount of data pertaining to the energy habits of households has not abated, with particular concern focusing on whether such information would be sold to third-party organisations. Technology experts are also concerned about the security of smart meters; if criminals are able to hack into the devices, for example, the integrity of the systems could be compromised. Criminals may also use the information to ascertain when homes are empty.

The benefits of installing smart meters are well documented. Current estimates suggest that  65 per year could be shaved off the average household energy bill.