Exclusive Utility Week research has revealed more than 50 per cent of consumers may choose not to install a smart meter.

Eight years since the smart meter rollout was first announced, a quarter of respondents to a survey conducted by Utility Week, in association with Harris Interactive, said they were not interested in getting a smart meter.

Meanwhile, 24 per cent said they would need to find out more before making the decision to get one installed, and a further five per cent said they were worried about the decision to get one – meaning cumulatively more than 50 per cent may choose not to get a smart meter installed.

However, the proportion of respondents who said they would need to find out more information is a decrease on the 29 per cent which gave the same reason when Utility Week conducted a similar survey six months ago. Market observers predict this is attributable to the smart meter campaign run by Smart Energy GB.

Ernst and Young advisory partner Rob Doepel described the outcomes of the survey as “unsurprising at this stage in the rollout”. “Smart Energy GB are doing a great job – it’s no mean feat targeting not just one segment of society but the entire population, and the results show there is now a fantastic increased national awareness,” he told Utility Week.

Mark Brenton, energy specialist at Harris Interactive agreed, but said the results highlight the challenges suppliers face in persuading “late adopters” to install a smart meter. “They need to see real evidence that having one can help save them money on their energy bills,” he said. “The research shows that still only a third of those who now have a smart meter state that this is the case.”

Elsewhere in the survey, 65 per cent of those who switched supplier while having a smart meter found their meter lost smart functionality as a result. Although the number surveyed who chose to switch while on a meter was relatively low.

The incidence of multiple visits to install the meters fell from 13 per cent six months ago to nine per cent.

However, the number of people surveyed who said they had seen “no benefit” from having a smart meter installed also increased to 16 per cent, up from 12 per cent six months ago. Only a third have seen savings on their energy bills since installation. Around a third suggest having a smart meter has had no impact on them in terms of energy engagement.

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