The government are currently in the process of rolling out smart meters to all UK homes. So far 3.3m first generation smart meters have been installed in UK homes. The plan is by the end of 2020, around 53 million smart electricity and gas meters, will be fitted in 30 million homes and businesses.
Smart meters are set to replace every conventional gas and electricity meter in the country. They use wireless technology to allow energy companies to read the meter remotely via the mobile phone network, therefore you will only be billed for actual energy used, putting an end to estimated readings, which should lead to fewer billing complaints. They will also allow the home owner to better gauge the families energy usage.
Discussing the subject in the office, one smart meter owner explained how more focus is placed on turning lights off when not required, and only using heating when required; and ‘educating’ family members to do the same. I compared this to my recently acquired FitBit, enticing me to walk a few extra steps, or take an extra flight of stairs, whereas before I would have remained firmly sat at my desk; in order to reach my daily target!! In both cases, it highlights that awareness is a good thing, and whilst the owner of the smart meter has not noticed a drastic change in their energy bills; they spoke positively about the meter, and expressed that having the data usage on clear display has been ‘interesting’. Studies have shown, however, that having a smart meter currently reduces household energy consumption by an average of 3%.
There is some negative press involved in the roll out; namely that the whole scheme will end up costing an estimated £11bn; the predicted cost for each replaced meter will be £200, and this can only be a figure to be borne by the public via increased energy bills. A secondary factor is that the meter may become redundant when a customer switches energy supplier. Second generation meters are being planned which will alleviate this problem.
Whilst prudent advice may be to hold out for the second generation meters; the government is committed to this roll out, and the overwhelming factor is that energy consumption WILL be reduced – a consideration to mull over as I strive for my 10,000 steps!!!