New studies are showing that ‘smart meters’ could be the way forward for households to reduce their energy bills.
A pilot study in the US showed that installing displays on smart energy meters to provide real time data on energy use encouraged people to reduce their consumption.
Almost all the people (97%) in the test sample of 500 households said they were happy with their new smart meters and would continue to use them to monitor and control energy use. Furthermore, 93% of the sample were satisfied with being on the smart meter trial, and 80% said they would recommend them to their friends and family.
As far as using the smart meters, 91% of the the people on the trial found it easy to connect the smart meter and energy monitor. In terms of taking steps to reduce energy consumption, 71% of the participants had already lowered their usage. Furthermore, 17% were planning on making reductions to their energy usage within the following year.
When asked what particular energy saving steps they had taken, 83% said they had started to turn off lights at night and when they were not in the room. The next most popular step was adjusting the temperature on the thermostat, of which over half the participants had started to do. From what they had learnt about reducing energy consumption, a third of the participants had already switched to energy saving light bulbs.
The study was based on consumers in Houston, Texas, so it’s interesting to see that in the land of JR and the gas guzzling automobile, Americans are coming round to the idea of saving energy.
And with UK energy companies continuing to hike prices, it could be time for British consumers to follow the lead of the Americans and start to take control of energy saving themselves instead, especially with no sign in reductions in commodity prices.
The fact that UK consumers are primed to embrace smart meters is certainly borne out by a recent survey conduced by IBM. The survey indicated that more than half of consumers would check their energy using every week and more than a quarter would check it every day if they had a smart meter installed.
The IBM survey also showed that the majority of consumers (79%) believed it was their own responsibility to keep tabs on their own energy usage and not waste energy.
Not surprisingly, when faced by higher energy bills most people (75%) blame high prices from their suppliers. With the recent price hike announced in the UK, little will be done to dampen this feeling.
People are aware, on the other hand, that their own actions are responsible for higher energy bills. 69% of those surveyed believed that higher energy bills were due to their own energy usage.
The findings of this survey also suggest that smart meters and monitors would be beneficial to UK consumers as they would have more control over what energy they use.
Another encouraging statistic was that 77% of people in the UK think that renewable energy would an important factor in any decisions to change energy supplier.
So it goes to show that savvy UK energy consumers are not only concerned with how much their bills cost, but where their energy comes from too.