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Majority of Brits keen to have smart meters installed

By Katie Anderson on June 20, 2013

According to a survey carried out by Energy Saving Trust (EST), the majority of Britons are keen to have smart meters installed in their homes. This is especially interesting because the majority of Britons do not even know what a smart meter does.

The survey revealed that 73 per cent of respondents are interested in using smart meters, whilst 43 per cent would like to use the technology to compare their energy usage to that of a neighbour. 62 per cent stated that they would benefit from using smart meters to check real-time consumption in “monetary terms on a daily basis”.

The introduction of smart meters in homes across the UK is expected to revolutionise domestic energy efficiency. At present, the UK’s housing stock is among the least energy efficient in Europe. But after the nationwide roll-out of smart meters has been completed, households will be able to identify where or how they are using the most energy. A faulty appliance or poorly wired socket, for example, would be flagged by a smart meter for wasting electricity, prompting the concerned homeowner to order a repair or replacement.

The problem is that the smart meter roll-out must wait until the autumn of 2015, having originally been scheduled to commence next year and the project will take up to five years to complete.

Explaining the British public’s interest in smart meter technology, Stephen Passmore, Technical Delivery Manager at EST, said: “The in-home display unit of smart meters enables homeowners to see the impact of switching on the kettle or vacuum cleaners and lets them make decisions about how they use energy in the home”.

Passmore added that households tend to reduce their energy consumption if they are “more engaged with how much [energy] they are using and where and how it is being used”. But it doesn’t just apply to electricity usage. Using smart meters should  encourage a new attitude about energy conservation and help make households more aware of how much energy is being eaten up by their central heating system in the battle to keep warm.

Delayed or not, is Britain really ready for the smart revolution? In a survey carried out by uSwitch in May, researchers discovered that 55 per cent of respondents were unable to explain the function of a smart meter. It seems that many Britons do not know what a smart meter does, but they want one anyway.