That statistics are always open to interpretation has never been truer for the energy industry with the release this week of the latest findings on the public’s perception of smart meters.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) polled more than 2,000 energy bill-payers on the topic of smart meters through Ipsos Mori.

The qualitative analysis was big news in the industry. However, the interpretation of the results proved very different – in particular with EurActiv and Metering International, two authoritative domains on all things energy.

EurActiv took the glass half empty approach, headlining their news story ‘Consumers unaware of smart meters ahead of EU-wide roll-out’. Meanwhile, Metering International took a more optimistic line, running with: ‘Half of energy customers in U.K. have heard of smart meters’.

We’ve always advocated more education around smart metering and extolled the virtues of a strong communications and PR campaign to support consumer awareness, but the question remains: Is the glass half full in terms of smart metering awareness, or lacking half the necessary buy-in?

Key findings of the DECC/Ipsos Mori research were:

  •  49% of those surveyed had heard of smart meters
  • 5% claimed they’d had one installed (although the actual figure could be lower due to consumer confusion around the precise properties of a smart meter)
  • 32% expressed support for the installation of smart meters in every home in the country, while 20% were opposed to it
  • 48% were undecided about smart meters
  • 42% of those without a smart meter in their home were interested in having one installed

The perceived benefits of having a smart meter installed included:

    • Being able to better manage household finances (33%)
    • To help avoid waste (26%)
    • Produce a greater accuracy of billing (19%)

Perceived disadvantages included:

    • Cost – either to the consumer, the taxpayer, the government or the energy companies (19%)
    • Data security (10%)

 

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