A new report has revealed that smart meters are helping to change households' behaviour by enabling people to better manage and control their energy consumption – great news for UK households.
Smart meters, which are set to be rolled out to all British Gas customers, enable you to see the amount of energy you're using as you use it, with a smart energy monitor displaying consumption in pounds and pence – something we can all understand.
The British Gas Smart Thinking Report, the first of its kind, saw British Gas survey over 700 domestic smart meter users. The results of the report show real interest in the new technology, with nearly half of the people surveyed (48%) saying that they use their smart energy monitors on a daily basis, while more than three-quarters (78%) said that they used it at least once a week.
As a result, smart meters are increasing consumers' awareness of the energy that they use and their desire to be energy efficient. An impressive 80% of those surveyed stated that smart meters have made them think about their energy consumption in a more considered way.
How have they brought about the change? Well, by helping you understand the energy that you're using smart meters enable you to make better informed choices about what can be done in the home to reduce energy consumption. Of those asked, 73% stated smart meters have made them think about ways they could reduce their usage and save money whilst 64% of the consumers surveyed undertaking energy efficiency improvements in their home.
All UK homes will be fitted with a smart meter and smart energy display by 2019. British Gas already has the largest roll-out of smart meters, with 400,000 in homes and businesses across the UK and by the end of 2012 the number of installations will reach 1.5 million. All British Gas customers will receive their smart meter as part of a phased roll out across the country.
Dr. Tom Hargreaves, an expert in smart meters from the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, said: “The findings of this report make for extremely encouraging reading. They suggest that energy consumers will use smart metering systems on a regular basis, that this will improve levels of energy awareness, and that it will inspire interest and enthusiasm to explore ways of reducing energy use and saving money.”
The new smart meters have a number of unique functions that help consumers to manage and reduce their energy consumption. The smart energy monitors allow consumers to set their own targets via an intuitive traffic light system, which indicates the level of energy currently being used. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (71%) referenced this function as the single most helpful smart meter feature.
Those surveyed also showed positive signs of continued engagement with their smart meters over the longer term, with 71 per cent still consulting with their smart meters once a week as much as a year after installation.
Dean Keeling, Managing Director of British Gas Smart Homes, states: "Smart meters have a major impact on the way consumers engage and manage their energy consumption. As we enter a decade of change in domestic usage, it's even more important that the UK's consumers fully understand what smart meters are and how they can be best used. We at British Gas hope these findings can begin raising awareness of the benefits of smart meters whilst helping the UK prepare for their arrival."
The new smart meter is just the first step on the road to helping you change the way you consume energy. Next in line for British Gas customers is a remote central heating app for use on smartphones. This innovative app, which is also available via an online portal as well as via smartphones, will be available in 2012.
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