More than eight in 10 (84%) UK consumers feel that energy suppliers maximise profits at the expense of customers, and three-quarters (74%) believe that any savings facilitated by smart meters will be counterbalanced by increased prices to cover the cost of installation, according to a new report from YouGov.
The government plans to roll out smart meters, which improve household energy efficiency, nationally by the end of 2020. This is expected to be an enormous logistical and technical challenge for the energy industry, involving visits to around 30 million homes and small businesses to install over 50 million meters.
The YouGov report finds a high-level of antipathy towards energy suppliers, with 55% of consumers agreeing that “energy companies treat people with contempt”, as well as a fairly sceptical view of the purported benefits of smart meters.
Nearly a third (31%) of respondents say the aspect of smart meters that has most appeal is their potential to help cut energy bills, but 59% of bill payers surveyed say the cost of installation will lead to increased bills. Additionally, a quarter (25%) of consumers are concerned by the amount of data energy companies might be able to collect using smart meters.
Currently, only 7% of energy bill payers have a smart meter in their home.