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Home > News > Industry News > Confusion and resistance hits .....

Confusion and resistance hits UK smart meter plan, says new report

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2017-09-19
Lack of consumer engagement, insufficient information is slowing down the UK’s £11bn energy smart meter roll-out, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Sussex.

Lack of consumer engagement, insufficient information is slowing down the UK’s £11bn energy smart meter roll-out, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Sussex.

The government plans to install smart meters in every home by 2020 to reduce national household energy consumption by 5-15%, and thereby help meet the UK’s climate change targets.

But despite a £100m marketing campaign, the smart meter programme has not met its targets due to consumer apathy and confusion, especially in the case of vulnerable people, say the researchers.

Professor Benjamin Sovacool, lead author of the study and director of the Sussex Energy Group, writes:

“We have recently seen how the government had to backtrack on its ambitions to make installation in every home obligatory; they are basically admitting a degree of failure.”

After a year of the Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP) energy providers had only managed to install the meters in 7% of homes. To hit the target by 2020, suppliers would need to install 40,000 smart meters per day for the duration of the programme.

Sovacool points to consumer confusion and even resistance to the programme.

“This is a clear sign that they need to improve consumer engagement and the provision of information about the benefits of the technology. This is especially true when it comes to vulnerable classes of people, such as the elderly and those less educated.”

Dr Paula Kivimaa, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, writes:

”Given the removal of several important policy instruments targeting energy efficiency and demand reduction in buildings in 2015, the SMIP has a crucial role in advancing these policy targets. However, the failure to engage consumers effectively puts the success of this programme at risk.”