Smart meters proving to be a vital support for households this winter
- A third of households with a smart meter (32 per cent) are using their in-home display more than usual this winter
- Over half of UK billpayers are worried about their ability to afford their energy bills
- More than a third of UK billpayers (36 per cent) don’t know how much they are paying for electricity, while 46 per cent are unsure how much their monthly outgoings are for gas.
- Being able to monitor their energy consumption has made 44 per cent of people with smart meters feel more in control, and 35 per cent feel more organised.
- 27 per cent of people with smart meters are currently finding their in-home display, and the energy information it provides reassuring
- 56 per cent of UK billpayers believe they could save money each month if they took a closer look at their outgoings
- 50 per cent of UK billpayers are hoping to get a tighter grip on their finances this year
3rd February 2022: With energy prices soaring, new research has found that nearly a third (32 per cent) of households with a smart meter are using their in-home display more than usual this winter, with over half (53 per cent) of UK billpayers saying they’re worried about their ability to afford their energy bills.
The research, commissioned by Smart Energy GB, also found that more than a third (36 per cent) of UK billpayers said that they don’t know how much they are paying for electricity, while 46 per cent are unsure how much their monthly outgoings are for gas.
Smart meters, which are replacing analogue energy meters across the country, come with an in-home display which shows your energy usage in pounds and pence, in near real-time. Nearly half of all energy meters in Great Britain are now smart meters, and 2022 is set to be the year that smart meters outnumber traditional meters.
According to the research, over half (57 per cent) of respondents with a smart meter said that being able to see their energy use in pounds and pence was the most useful aspect of the in-home display, while nearly half (47 per cent) use it to monitor how much they have spent over a particular day, week and month. In addition, 55 per cent know how to use their in-home display to help manage their daily energy use, with the early evening being the most popular time to track energy usage for the day.
Smart meters are having an emotional impact as well as a practical one, with 44 per cent of respondents saying they feel more in control of their energy due to their in-home display and 27 per cent finding the visibility over their energy use reassuring.
With talk of bills increasing into spring, 94% of those with a smart meter have implemented at least one of the energy saving habits listed in the survey, with 38 per cent of these changes directly inspired by their in-home display. These include turning off lights in a room no-one is using (60 per cent), only boiling the water they need in the kettle (51 per cent), using energy efficient lighting (48 per cent) and washing clothes at a lower temperature (43 per cent).
While smart meters are helpful for everyone, they can be especially useful for those on a prepay tariff, enabling customers to top up remotely via their mobile or online. Additionally, when a smart meter is in prepay mode, consumers can clearly see when they are close to using their emergency credit.
Victoria Bacon, Director at Smart Energy GB said:
“It is an extremely challenging time for many households at the moment and there are no quick fixes or easy answers, but a smart meter can be a really helpful tool for people wanting to feel a bit more in control, with more visibility on their energy use and avoiding the uncertainties of estimated bills.
“As we can see from our survey, more people are actively using their smart meter and in-home display during this difficult time and many are feeling more in control of their energy use as a result.
“There’s a lot of really helpful information available on how to use energy more efficiently on the Smart Energy GB website and from organisations like the Energy Saving Trust.
“If you are worried about paying your energy bills, help is available. A good place to start is Citizens Advice or Energy Saving Trust, who have more information on how to access support.”
Energy Saving Trust has come up with a list of tips on how to make your household more energy efficient, which could lead to a potential saving of £248 on your bills.
Laura McGadie, group head of energy, Energy Saving Trust, said:
“We understand that rising energy bills are causing concern for households across Great Britain. At Energy Saving Trust, we’re working to support people by sharing advice on simple energy saving actions you can take around the home, without compromising on health or lifestyle. Householders who take our twelve energy saving actions could save up to £248 on their annual energy bills, providing a level of protection against the projected increases.
“If you are concerned about paying your energy bill, we advise you speak to your supplier to find out what support is available and to check if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. If you live in Scotland, contact Home Energy Scotland for free, impartial advice and to check your eligibility for funding options. In Wales, the Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest scheme offers advice and support on energy efficiency, money management and tariffs.”
Smart meters are available at no extra cost; simply contact your energy supplier to request an installation or visit smartenergyGB.org for more information.
Energy Saving Trust Tips:
To help people protect themselves against the projected increase, Energy Saving Trust has provided 12 simple energy saving steps to save energy, cash and reduce carbon. Households who take the below actions could save up to £248 on their annual energy bills:
- Draught proof around windows, doors and floorboards by fitting foam strips, plastic seals or brushes – and seal gaps between floors and skirting boards with a simple sealant bought from any DIY store. Save £30 on your annual energy bills and 105kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 380 miles from Exeter to Hull.
- Effective insulation of your hot water cylinder is important: even if you have thin spray foam or a 25mm jacket, you can benefit from increasing the insulation to a British Standard Jacket 80mm thick. Save £20 on your annual energy bills and 110kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 390 miles from Birmingham to Aberdeen.
- Turn devices around the home off standby, or onto idle mode. Save £40 on your annual energy bills and 50kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 180 miles from Manchester to Newcastle.
- Turn lights off when leaving a room. Save £14 on your annual energy bills and 17kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 61 miles from London to Canterbury.
- Use your washing machine on a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures. Save £10 on your annual energy bills and 12kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 43 miles from Edinburgh to Glasgow.
- Similarly, only wash your clothes in your washing machine when you have a full load. Reduce your washing machine use by one run per week for a year. Save £10 on your annual energy bills and 13kg of CO2.
- Only run your dishwasher when it is full to reduce the amount of water you use. Save £10 on your annual energy bills and 12kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 43 miles from Edinburgh to Glasgow.
- Only boil water you need in your kettle. Save £8 on your annual energy bills and 10kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 36 miles from Sheffield to Leeds.
- Fit an aerator onto your existing kitchen tap to reduce the amount of water coming out without affecting its effectiveness. An aerator is a small gadget with tiny holes – they attach to the spout of taps and are cheap and easy to install. Save £14 on your annual energy bills and 65kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 230 miles from London to Bristol and back again.
- Keep your shower time to 4 minutes. Save £45 on your annual energy bills and 195kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 700 miles from Birmingham to Aberdeen and back again.
- Swap one bath a week with a 4-minute shower. Save £7 on your annual energy bills and 35kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 120 miles from London to Bristol.
- Avoid using a tumble dryer for your clothes: dry clothes on racks inside where possible or outside in warmer weather. Save £40 on your annual energy bills and 50kg of CO2, the equivalent to driving 180 miles from Manchester to Newcastle.
Find out more energysavingtrust.org.uk