One in five UK consumers would prioritise owning a smart meter over any other smart technology device in their home, according to new research from YouGov, commissioned by OVO Energy.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found 18 per cent would opt for a smart meter, compared to just six per cent who would choose an artificial intelligence (AI) home device.

But only two per cent more expected to actually add a smart thermostat to their home, than those who expected to buy an AI device. (14 per cent compared to 12 per cent).

Additionally, last September Utility Week, in partnership with Harris Interactive, asked more than 1,000 UK adults about their interest in smart home and smart energy technologies.

This research found more than 30 per cent were not interested in connected home offerings, leaving a significant market segment beyond the reach of aspirant providers of connected living.

The Ovo research also revealed there is some confusion over the functionality of smart meters:

  • 87 per cent didn’t know that smart meters, when combined with EnTech software and storage devices, could enable you to sell energy back to the grid.
  • 91 per cent didn’t expect smart meters to aid in storing energy generated from solar panels when combined with other EnTech software and storage devices.
  • 82 per cent didn’t know that owning a smart meter could give them access to more flexible tariffs.
  • 47 per cent weren’t aware it is possible to connect your smartphone to monitor energy usage on the go.

When asked what motivated them to adopt each technology, consumers with smart meters surveyed by Utility Week were most commonly motivated by long-term financial savings, while in the Ovo survey, 84 per cent didn’t know a smart meter, working with EnTech software and storage devices, could help them buy energy at the cheapest time of the day.

Mark Brenton, energy expert at Harris Interactive, said although many still don’t understand all the potential benefits of smart meters, the gathering pace of the smart meter deployment “could lead to a step change in new technology adoption within the next few years if, as many hope, having a smart meter leads to households becoming more aware of their energy use and looking for new ways to reduce their bills.”

Melissa Gander, managing director, IHT, OVO Group, said: “Smart meters are the gateway to so many exciting and new ways for us to think about how we generate, bill and use energy. From the research, it is promising to see the clear demand for energy efficient technology”.