There are more smart meters – now more than 7.7 million – across Britain than ever before, showing us how much energy we’re using in near real-time in pounds and pence via a handheld display. Smart meters and energy usage, carried out by Populus, shows that the large majority of people with a smart meter (86%) make energy saving changes to their behaviour and this enthusiasm is maintained during the months and years after a smart meter installation.
The research asked people about a range of energy saving actions and found, for example, that nearly four in ten (39%) people with a smart meter fitted energy efficient lightbulbs immediately after having one installed, and that this figure increased to more than two in three (67%) of those who had their smart meter for more than two years. It also found that more than three-quarters of people (77%) said they were doing as much as they could to save energy immediately after getting their smart meter, this figure rising to 83% for those who had had their smart meter for longer than two years.
Additionally, the research shows that those who may experience additional barriers to getting their smart meter installed, or to using their smart meter, such as being a tenant, using prepay methods or being off gas grid, are more likely to report that they are saving money on energy than audiences without. Those with ‘personal physical’ barriers, such as mobility impairment or being partially sighted, report doing more energy saving activities than those with other, or no additional barriers.
Claire Maugham, Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Energy GB, said: “This research shows that smart meters are bringing real changes to people’s bills for the millions of homes who’ve already had theirs installed – and that we’re using our smart meters to make positive changes to our energy behaviour more and more, the longer we have them.
“If you’re still using an analogue gas or electricity meter, you don’t yet have the information you need to get energy under control. The national rollout of smart meters is bringing our energy system up to date, transforming how we use energy in our homes and building a reliable and secure energy supply for Great Britain. It’s no wonder that nearly half of British adults who don’t yet have a smart meter – that’s more than 20 million people – say they would like to have their smart meter installed in the next six months so they can feel the benefits right away.”
The research was carried out for Smart Energy GB by Populus who surveyed 2,332 adults aged 21+ in May 2017 about their energy use. The full report can be read here.