Third of consumers ‘feel pressured to take a smart meter’

uSwitch says more than a tenth of the public have no idea what a smart meter is used for

By Jonny Bairstow

Many homeowners feel pressured to have a smart meter installed even though they aren’t sure how it will affect them.

That’s according to uSwitch, which suggests three in ten consumers who have been offered one of the devices say they have felt pressured into accepting it by energy suppliers, with nearly a third of this group saying they were given the impression they had no choice in the matter.

The smart meter rollout aims to end the days of customers having to manually provide their supplier with meter readings, as well as making bills more accurate and helping customers make sense of their gas and power spending.

However, uSwitch claims this information may not be getting through to the public – fewer than four in ten of those who were offered a smart meter said the benefits of the technology had been fully explained.

More than a tenth said they weren’t provided with any information at all about why they needed one or what they were for.

Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch, said: “Unfortunately, the smart meter rollout has been delayed because not all the necessary infrastructure has been built yet.

“This has led to a rush to meet the 2020 deadline and energy companies being threatened with fines if they don’t meet the installation targets imposed on them, creating an environment where some suppliers feel they need to use questionable tactics to try to get households to accept a smart meter.”