Smart meters save customers £270m on their energy bills during lockdown

smart meter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a recent study by smart energy expert Utilita, smart meter owners across the UK saved almost £270 million on their energy bills during lockdown. The study of 2,000 adults revealed that each participant estimated a reduction in energy payments of £39.50 since 23 March. With one in four houses in the UK now owning a smart meter, this represents a combined saving of £268.6 million.

Smart meters work by monitoring a household’s energy usage in real time and sending the data to the energy supplier. This means estimates aren’t required for bills, and those who live in the house can continually check their usage.

The news follows June’s announcement that smart meters were helping save customers up to £250 on their energy bills every year.

If your house is one of the many UK homes that doesn't have a smart meter installed, we recommend making sure you're not overpaying for your gas and electricity by conducting an online energy price comparison. This will show you the  best energy deals in your area - and it'll also give you the opportunity to switch to a provider who will supply you with a smart meter, so you can monitor your usage.

Changing energy habits

The study gave an indication of how useful people with smart meters found the devices. Some 62 per cent of respondents said they checked their display once a week, while just under a third (32 per cent) looked at least once per day. Over half of all those surveyed (54 per cent) also said they used the budgeting function on the In-Home Display.

As an added bonus, many smart meter owners also reported that the devices were very useful in helping educate children about the cost of the family’s energy bills. 32 per cent of respondents said they actively encouraged the rest of the family to monitor their use of energy, and 51 per cent said that they felt it was useful to know where their money was going.

The smart meter owners who were questioned also felt that the device helped them change their habits. Three in 10 respondents believed that the smart meter meant they kept a closer eye on their energy bills. In addition, 27 per cent of people thought their meter actively helped them reduce the amount of energy they used.

Initial problems

The survey will be good news for smart meter installers and energy providers who have previously been met with complaints about their products. Following the initial rollout in 2017, over 3,000 households reported problems with their first-generation smart meters. Common issues included:

  • Smart meters turning dumb when they switched supplier
  • Difficulty getting meter readings
  • Inaccurate energy bills

However, over 17 million first-generation smart meters have been installed across the UK (which is over seven million more than the initial target) so these problems appear to have occurred in under 2 per cent of installations.

Several million second-generation meters have now been installed UK-wide. The majority of these have been designed using feedback from first-generation models to help evolve the devices.

If you’re having problems with your smart meter, it’s worth taking a look at this troubleshooting guide, as you may find the issue is easy to fix. Failing this, you'll need to contact your supplier.

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Tom Brook

Tom is a freelance copywriter and content marketer with over a decade of experience. Originally from an agency background, he is proud to have worked on campaigns for a number of energy providers, comparison sites and consumer brands.