Study by University of Essex asks: Are Smart Meters a Waste of Money?
The study, published in Energy Policy journal, questions the effectiveness in the United Kingdom of multi-billion-pound plans to replace 53 million gas and electricity meters in 30 million UK homes and small businesses by 2020.
Analysing research data from 524,479 people in 156 field trials, the researchers found that whilst in-home displays were a good way of raising awareness of energy use and linking consumption with cost, customers only saved on average about 2% – which on an average home energy bill of £1,284 would mean only £2-3 savings per month.
The study can be found at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421514006739
The UK is not the only place where the smart meters have yet to deliver the promised savings. In Ontario on December 9, the Auditor General said the benefits of the smart meter project were yet to be realised:
“The Ministry submitted a business case to cabinet, but only after the government announced the rollout in April 2004. And the analysis was flawed; its projected net benefit of $600 million was overstated
by at least $512 million,” she added. “The Ministry has neither updated the projected costs and benefits
nor tracked the actual costs to determine the actual net benefits realized.”
Also in the UK, the Public Accounts Committee warned that smart meters may be “out-of-date” by the end of the £10.6 billion rollout project.
“Evolving technology suggests that customers could receive the information on their smart phones, making the in-home display redundant. Energy suppliers will be required to offer in-home displays, even though customers may not want or use them. Consumers will have to pay for them even though they might already be out of date.”
The PAC also reported that the Department of Energy and Climate Change had spent considerable sums on consultancy rather that developing in-house expertise:
In 2013-14, the department spent £14 million of £19.3 million spent on managing the programme on external commercial and technical expertise. It expects to spend around half of its 2014-15 budget on external expertise.
If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up for the email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz. This link also includes a search facility to allow you to search the website for topics of interest.