8 January 2021 Metering, Smart Meter Rollout

Consumer satisfaction with smart meters at record high level, Ofgem finds

Couple reviewing smart meter and taking notes

More than 70% of consumers say they are satisfied with the smart meter installation process and with the technology itself, the energy regulator’s latest survey findings show.

Ofgem’s latest consumer perception survey has found that more than 70% of consumers say that they are happy with their smart meter – the highest level recorded since the national rollout began.

Commissioned jointly with Citizens Advice, the energy market regulator’s survey – conducted every quarter – polled more than 3,200 domestic consumers in Q3 2020, with 71 per cent of respondents in total indicating that they were satisfied with their smart meter device.

Between Q1 2019 and Q2 2020, the number of people satisfied remained consistently between 64-67 per cent. However, the latest figures show improving appreciation of the smart technology, which digitally log energy consumption to facilitate accurate billing and help consumers get a better understanding of their energy usage.

Besides these primary benefits to the consumer, by digitalising the energy network smart meters are also an essential enabler of energy efficiency and other smart, green technologies such as electric vehicles that can facilitate flexible demand and help reduce carbon emissions and costs.

In addition to the general improved consumer satisfaction with the technology, Ofgem’s survey also showed a significant increase in satisfaction of the smart meter installation process, rising from 72 per cent in Q2 to 80 per cent in Q3 – matching the record high set in Q1 2020.

Customers with a smart meter installed were also more likely to be satisfied overall with their energy supplier’s customer service (74 per cent) than those without (71 per cent).

Second COVID lockdown fails to hamper smart meter roll-out

Meanwhile, according to latest statistics by the Data Communications Company (DCC), installations of second-generation (SMETS2) smart meters held up very strongly during the second English lockdown in November 2020, in deep contrast to the initial spring 2020 lockdown.

The first lockdown in England, from 24 March to the start of June, caused a fall of 96.2% in average daily installations, according DCC’s figures. However, the autumn lockdown, which ended in early December, saw the installation rate drop by just 2.5% on the previous month.

During the Spring lockdown, average daily installations plunged to 658, down from a February average rate of 17,362 per day – a drop of 96.2%. The sharp decline in installations came as energy companies responded to the Covid-19 restrictions, moving in most instances to an emergencies-only approach.

By contrast, during November, despite the second lockdown a total of 360,107 SMETS2 meters were installed in homes and businesses across Britain, at an average rate of 17,148 every day. This represents a reduction of just 2.5% on the levels achieved in October, which was itself a record month, with an average of 17,579 each day.

The DCC says the huge disparity in the installation rates demonstrates how successfully energy companies, distribution network operators and installation engineers adapted their working practices since mid-summer, to enable installations to continue safely in homes.

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To learn more about the benefits of smart meters, visit Smart Energy GB.