Do smart meters save energy?
1st October 2016 | Residential Energy
The predicted cost to replace all domestic meters with smart meters by the end of 2020 (around 53m will be fitted in more than 30m homes and businesses) is about £200 per meter, which will be borne by consumers through increased bills. So far, around 3.3m first-generation meters have been installed in UK homes. But the question remains, do smart meters save energy?
The cost of replacing them is estimated at £11bn, but studies show that they cut energy consumption by 3% or less, so why is the UK spending so much in rolling out “smart” electricity and gas meters? They use wireless technology to allow the energy company to read the meter remotely, however, in many cases, the meters which have already been switched can only be read by the energy company who supplied the meter: in future, many customers who already have a smart meter will switch supplier and the switch will make the meter revert to a non-smart meter.
This was in a report for the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recently, although the Government has known that this would be a problem for years. The report coincided with the Institute of Directors attacking the roll-out for being too complex and too costly.
The idea behind the smart meters is to provide real-time consumption figures for consumers (who will then reduce their consumption) and cut out the requirement for energy suppliers to use human meter readers, as these often lead to costly billing complaints.
However, as with many such large infrastructure change/ upgrade projects, there have been many problems.
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