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Smart Meters – a catalyst for change

With the Public Accounts Committee reporting that the fitting of smart meters will only see a modest reduction in energy usage, is that the full story, or will the installation of smart meters be a catalyst for change?

Henry Lawson, Market Research Consultant at BSRIA
Henry Lawson, Market Research Consultant at BSRIA

BSRIA’s energy and smart buildings expert, Henry Lawson writes on the debate: “While the overhead of the cost of smart meters is unavoidable, the figure of £11 per year to pay for the meter is fairly modest, amounting to under 1% of the typical average annual bill.

“The real issue will be consumers’ ability to alter their consumption, either through deliberate behaviour changes, or through improved technology.
“People need to understand the new tariffs, and also how to interpret the meters, or any other device, such as a PC or a mobile that may be picking up the data. We need devices with a degree of intelligence, that at least enable them to kick in at the most economical time, or reduce consumption at peak times.

“Smart metering could catapult smart appliances from being the toys of the above-average affluent geek into the must-have devices of ordinary families, as is already happening for smart phones – and this represents a huge opportunity for appliance manufacturers.”