Building awareness and support for
The GB smart metering programme needs a high level of consumer engagement and trust, if it is to succeed. This applies both before and after meters are installed.
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has warned that consumers will benefit from smart meters only if they understand the opportunities to reduce their energy bills and change their energy use behaviour.
In other countries, smart metering programmes that have gone ahead without considering the consumer viewpoint have suffered public backlashes or been severely delayed. The GB smart metering programme can learn from their experiences, and take action to inform and engage consumers.
However, public awareness and understanding of smart meters is still too low. In March 2012, fewer than half of those responding to a YouGov survey for USwitch said they knew what a smart meter was.
We need a full scale consumer engagement strategy to build widespread understanding of smart meters and their benefits. There is already a lot of good thinking on how this should be done. Green Alliance has produced a policy insight paper explaining how to make consumer engagement more effective and efficient. The paper was supported by SmartReach and based on consultation with a wide range of organisations.
The Green Alliance paper notes the many similarities between the TV digital switch over and the smart meter roll out. So we can learn from the success of Digital UK, the company leading consumer engagement for the digital switchover.
We need a national delivery body – a Smart Meter UK – to motivate and educate consumers about how to use smart meters. Combining this with an effective, convenient smart metering installation process will maximise consumer support and give the smart metering programme a vital early boost.
Find out more about related viewpoints:
- The similarities between the TV Digital Switch Over and the GB smart metering programme
- Reducing smart metering installation costs