27 November 2019 Metering, Smart Meter Rollout

Energy suppliers offer significantly cheaper tariffs for smart meter customers, research shows

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Energy suppliers are offering big discounts on tariffs for customers who have a smart meter installed, analysis in the Sunday Times has revealed.

The smart meter rollout, which is due to be extended until 2024 following a government consultation, aims to install smart meters in at least 80% of all homes and business by the deadline (approximately 53 million premises).

With around 15 million smart meters operating in the UK so far, suppliers are looking to encourage greater uptake of the devices (which are installed by suppliers at no extra cost to the consumer) by promising extra savings through cheaper smart meter tariffs.

Though smart meters are already supporting consumers to save money through providing greater visibility of energy use and therefore encouraging energy efficiency, the addition of smart-meter only tariffs are guaranteeing further reductions in costs through discounted rates.

Research in the Sunday Times shows the potential savings promoted by the so-called “big six” suppliers (British Gas, Eon, EDF, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE), however such cheaper tariffs are also widely available across the energy supplier market for consumers who commit to having a smart meter installed.

For instance, on British Gas’s smart meter tariff you can get an annual £897 deal, compared with its cheapest non-smart tariff of £1,177, saving £280. Prices assume a household with medium consumption on a dual-fuel tariff, paying by monthly direct debit.

With Eon, you can get a deal averaging £905 a year, and EDF £908 (both compared with £1,177). Scottish Power offers £895 instead of £1,178. Savings are also available with Npower (£1,128 rather than £1,157) and SSE (£1,164 instead of £1,178).

uSwitch, the comparison site that carried out the research, has stated that the smart meter prices are among the lowest offered by the big suppliers since 2016, with most tariffs requiring the property to have a smart meter installed, whilst others require customers to agree to be contacted about installation.

Many of the cheapest deals can be switched to straight away if you already have a smart meter, the study found.

Smart meters take automatic gas and electricity readings and transmit them directly to suppliers, putting an end to estimated readings and giving customers greater insight over their consumption.

However, besides the already well-established cost-cutting benefits of smart meters, a comprehensive national network of the technology is also considered to be crucial for the establishment of a cleaner, more modern energy system as well.

With smart meters allowing for better real-time management of supply and demand, this in turn is facilitating the better integration of intermittent renewable energy sources and other low-carbon technologies, as well as encouraging grid balancing and improved energy efficiency.

The successful rollout of smart meters, therefore, is deemed pivotal to the country’s carbon reduction targets and reducing the impacts of climate change.

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