Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

UK consumers sceptical about smart meter benefits, claims survey

Steve Rogerson
January 7, 2015
With smart metering due to be rolled out across the UK in 2015, a study by software testing company SQS reveals that UK consumers are unaware of how this technology will help them, believing the real beneficiaries will be energy suppliers themselves.

The study of UK consumers was conducted for SQS by YouGov, and shows there appears to be confusion about the potential advantages of smart meters. More than a third (37%) are convinced that smart metering will benefit energy suppliers the most, with just 28% saying it’s the consumer. At the same time, respondents are looking to their energy supplier for better energy control and personalised treatment, among other things, many of which are enabled by smart metering.

Nearly one in three (27%) consumers think their energy supplier’s track record of inaccurate billing, poor customer service and delays in problem fixing don’t augur well for success with smart meter implementation. And 41% of respondent’s agreed that new suppliers who are eager to prove themselves and are not held back by old technologies could provide a better service.

“The smart meter roll out is a wake-up call for established energy providers,” said Angus Panton, director of power and communications at SQS. “Our study shows that consumers want targeted, value-added services and greater control over their energy use, but don’t always trust their existing provider to deliver. There is widespread cynicism about the viability of big IT projects and 62% doubt smart metering will happen in the shifting timeframes. Despite the cynicism, there is an overall customer desire for the advantages and benefits smart meters will deliver.”

About half (52%) would welcome services, tariffs and offers that reflect how they actually use energy as well as improved, personalised customer support (22%). Also topping the wish list were accurate billing they could trust (48%) and a clear understanding of what uses up most and least energy (44%).

“The new smart world will generate large volumes of data and for established suppliers it is vital they have the high performing, integrated infrastructure in place to capture, secure and make the most of the real-time data they generate, all day, every day,” added Panton. “Now is the time to test everything, and then test it again – or to turn to the experts who can test it for you. There won’t be a second chance to get this right.”