Smart meters proving to be a vital support for London households this winter


With energy prices soaring, new research has found that over a third (38 per cent) of London households with a smart meter are using their in-home display more than usual this winter, with 64 per cent of London billpayers saying they’re worried about their ability to afford their energy bills.

The research, commissioned by Smart Energy GB, also found that over a third (45 per cent) of respondents said that they don’t know how much they are paying for electricity, whilst over half (51 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 (58 per cent) of London-based 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, whilst nearly half (49 per cent) also use it to monitor how much they have spent over a particular day, week and month. In addition, half of Londoners 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 nearly half (49 per cent) of Londoners saying they feel more in control of their energy due to their in-home display and 38 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 nearly half (48 per cent) of these changes directly inspired by their in-home display. These include turning off lights in a room no-one is using (48 per cent), only boiling the water they need in the kettle (40 per cent), using energy efficient lighting (36 per cent) and washing clothes at a lower temperature (39 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.”