The number of people with smart meters has doubled in the past year, something that has coincided with a slight increase in consumers’ positive perceptions of utilities providers, new research from YouGov suggests.
The Utilities report shows that between January 2016 and January 2017, the proportion of adults with smart meters increased from 8% to 16%. Yet while this particular type of monitoring technology is starting to make inroads, other forms are still struggling to gain headway. The tracking study finds that Home Energy Monitor use has barely increased, with just a one percentage point rise in usage between January 2016 (6%) and January 2017 (7%). It is a similar story for smartphone apps allowing a customer to monitor energy use in the home, which has remained static (4% at the start of both years).
YouGov’s report shows that the boost in smart meter ownership has come at the same time as slight improvements in consumers’ perceptions of certain aspects of their utilities providers. The proportion of people who think they are “reliable” has climbed from 26% to 29% and “professional” has gone from 17% to 20%. However, it must be noted that the data for this report was collected before the latest round of prices increases.
Tom Rees, Director of YouGov Reports, said: “After a rather lethargic start, smart meters are beginning to make strides into the consumer market in a way that other forms of utility monitoring technology simply aren’t. Clearly, this is good news for utilities companies as they can better monitor how their customers use energy. This shift may also be having a knock-on effect when it comes to how people view suppliers. However, whether both the acceleration in smart meter adoption and the improvement in public perception can be maintained remains to be seen – especially the issue of prices is now back on the news agenda.”