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‘Big Savings’ Available to Smart Meter Users, Report Suggests

Engaged and proactive smart meter users can trim their annual energy bills by up to 20%, as a digitisation transforms our energy consumption and market.

That’s according to new research by energy consultants Delta-ee on behalf of Smart Energy GB, the national campaign for the smart meter rollout.

They forecasted average annual savings of £200 for households that most embrace new digitised energy systems.

Households that respond to feedback from smart meters could save an average of £115 a year on their energy bills, including up to £50 by gaining insights into how much energy, up to £80 by turning down their thermostat, up to £40 by using their washing machine less, up to £20 by turning off appliances on standby, and up to £50 by “turning energy saving into  game.”

Savings also included £90 a year for customers who opt for new time-of-use tariffs, buying energy when it’s cheapest. Users of electric vehicles (EVs) who charge them from home outlets overnight could rack up even greater savings—£130—by using these variable rate tariffs.

Last year, consumer advocates Citizens Advice suggested that traditional time-of-use tariffs like Economy 7 and 10 were a “false economy,” with under half (49%) of households on them making active efforts to use electricity during off-peak efforts.

But Delta-ee’s report suggests that the time-of-use tariffs of the future will be more sophisticated and flexible, with costs varying in real-time throughout the day. Smart meters could make it easier for consumers to monitor these changing energy prices and time-manage their use.

The research also suggested smart meters could facilitate auto switching, enabling companies to determine the tariffs best suited to each household’s energy consumption and automatically switch them, for savings of up to £300 a year.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading, where customers can sell and buy the energy they generate and store via virtual platforms, could save households £100 a year.

The four million households on pre-payment meters won’t be left behind in the digital revolution either. Smart pre-payment meters can help them save up to £75 a year by helping them better track where their pounds and kilowatt hours are going.

Last summer, a report from the parliamentary group, the British Infrastructure Group, indicated that the £11 billion and behind-schedule smart meter roll may only help customers trim £11 a year from their energy bills. But Delta-ee and Smart Energy GB have indicated that savings could be more significant, as smart meters are involved in a wider transformative of our energy system and lives.

Digitisation could be as disruptive to the energy market and grid as Netflix and Spotify have been to television and films and the music business, the report argued.

“Back when we all first started discussing smart meters it made sense to focus on immediate bill savings. But since then, so much has changed in our lives,” said Dr Andrew Turton, Principal Analyst at Delta-ee.

“People are now used to real-time services enabled by digitalisation rather than simply purchasing physical products. Just as the benefits of music services like Spotify are far greater than not having to buy CDs, smart meters are a fundamentally transformative technology and open up a whole host of new services to customers which can benefit their lives and reduce their costs,” he said.

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