Smart meters ‘don’t necessarily help cut energy use’

There are issues around how smart meters can help householders reduce their energy consumption and bills. That’s the view of Samantha Heath, CEO of London Sustainability Exchange, who told ELN: “I […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria
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There are issues around how smart meters can help householders reduce their energy consumption and bills.

That’s the view of Samantha Heath, CEO of London Sustainability Exchange, who told ELN: “I think that smart meters don’t necessarily assist people in reducing the amount of energy they use because they’re not designed in that particular way and there are going to be apps for the tech-savvy that they will use it but a number of people will not want to know exactly how much energy they use because they’re scared.

“So there are issues around how smart meters can actually assist us in our homes to reduce the energy that we use.”

Ms Heath, who was speaking at the Policy Forum for London conference today, believes the smart meter programme has some challenges to engage customers.

She added: “The smart meter programme does need to step up its game in how it talks to consumers, works with consumers, that’s really very important because at the moment there’s a substantial number of people, not a huge but there’s substantial and important number of people, who are just worried about smart meters being the spy in their homes.

“The next thing that we’ve got to do is invest in the smart roll-out programme so that people really do see the benefits of them in their home and that’s beyond the television advertising campaign and SMETS2, the new meters that we were talking about, really will assist people but that’s only if there’s sufficient investment in new apps that people can actually use.”

Ms Heath also believes some programmes designed to engage consumers “are particularly limited, assuming that people do understand how much energy they use”.

She added: “People have absolutely no idea how many kilowatts per hour they use, how much they spend and what are the implications.”

However Ms Heath said there’s “sufficient scope” to encourage people to think more about how to manage the energy they use to ensure they can afford the power that they need, that there’s sustainability and security of supply.

She told ELN: “It’s in the public good that we engage more people around the energy that they use and how they use it.”