Households that make the most of smart meter technology and adopt more of a “Netflix” approach to consuming energy could slash their annual bills by up to 20 per cent, according to a new report.
The research, published by consultants Delta-ee on behalf of Smart Energy GB, the independent campaign set up to support the rollout of smart meters, says the opportunities presented by tariffs that reward customers for using energy at off-peak times, automatic switching services and the ability to sell excess energy generated from the home are growing and stand to save consumers more than £200 a year.
In particular, it urges households to view their consumption of energy in a similar way to their use of streaming services such as on-demand services, like Spotify and Netflix.
Dr Andrew Turton, principal amalyst at Delta-ee, said focusing on reducing energy consumption was no longer enough to stimulate consumer interest in smart meters.
“The reality is, people can save money but savings depend on their level of engagement,” said Turton.
“The way that the energy system is changing and has to change means that people want a service. Twenty years ago they had a phone bill detailing the number of minutes they used. Now it’s about bundles. It’s the same with energy.
“Smart meters open up a whole host of new services to customers which can benefit their lives and reduce their costs. Without smart meters, customers will be locked out of this future – simply buying kWh of energy, often based on estimates, at a higher cost,” Turton added.
Igloo Energy chief executive, Matt Clemow said its own research showed that many UK households were still sceptical about the benefits of smart meters.
“Today’s data from Smart Energy GB shows there are huge savings to be made and we hope it encourages more people to get one installed,” said Clemow.
“Following Ofgem’s changes to its price cap, customers on the big six’s standard tariffs are set to see their bills rise by 10 per cent within the next month. As an industry, we need to make sure consumers understand how smart meters let them easily track and control their energy usage and the long-term savings on offer, so people don’t miss out.”
The managing director of renewable energy supplier Tonik Energy, Chris Russell told Utility Week he sees a lot of potential in EV tariffs and peer-to-peer energy trading.
“However, these markets are all emerging and as an industry, we have a significant amount to achieve before we can truly realise these benefits,” said Russell.
“We are also held-back by a significant amount of red-tape and regulation, and conflicting policies such as the targeted charging review and the smart export guarantee.”
However, the £11 billion smart meter scheme to put 53 million devices in 30 million homes and small businesses by 2020 has been plagued by repeated delays, cost increases and technical problems.
Following a BEIS select committee hearing on smart meters in January, committee chair Rachel Reeves warned that the 2020 target would not be met and, as costs rise, household customer would eventually pick up the bill.
“The Government needs to tackle these problems, get a greater grip on costs, and be much more active in holding energy suppliers and the Data Communications Company (DCC) to account for delivering this programme and within budget,” she said.