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Are smart meters a good way of saving money?

Are smart meters a good way of saving money?

It's no secret that the cost of living has increased substantially in recent years, meaning that people across the UK are constantly on the lookout for ways in which they can save money.

One of the main areas where people believe they can try and save some cash is with their energy bills. The market has become hugely competitive in recent years, with price comparison sites managing to achieve immense levels of popularity with many consumers across the country.

However, while switching suppliers may be a simple way of ensuring you get a better deal, some seem to believe it is the way they consume their energy.

Smart meters have become one popular option, with the technology seen as being the ideal solution for spending too much on energy bills, mainly due to a number of great benefits.

Better Management

One of the biggest strengths of a smart metre is the fact that it shows your energy use on a real-time screen.

It means consumers can get a better idea on how much energy they are using, often placing it in terms that are easy to understand, such as  pence per hour.

The idea is that by getting a better understanding of your energy use, it is possible to use that information to implement small changes throughout your house in order to reduce your bills.

According to research from British Gas, some 90 per cent of people using smart meters claimed they had taken daily steps to reduce their daily energy use by turning off appliances when not in use. A further 79 per cent added that the use of a smart energy monitor had made them more aware of their energy consumption.

However, there are a number of experts that have claimed that the impact of installing a smart meter does not have a noticeable impact on saving money.

Smart or not?

Professor Steve Thomas, head of energy policy at Greenwich University, told the Daily Telegraph the new technology was not needed to replace traditional meter readings. "The government talks about getting rid of meter reading, but that doesn't need a smart meter.

"Also, the electricity industry's track record of delivering information technology systems to time and cost is abysmal.

"If smart meters come in at, say, four times the forecast figures, that is £2,000 per consumer, it is simply not affordable. We only need to install smart meters to satisfy the EU."

However, Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Smart Energy GB, which has helped to popularise the rollout, claims the measures are an ideal way of saving cash for customers.

He told the news provider: “We waste money on the current old-fashioned manual meter system, including fleets of meter readers.

"Also, consumers are not armed with the information that they need to find the best energy deal for them. The meters mean an end to estimated bills. They also mean that consumers have the information they need to find the best deals."

That level of support is unsurprisingly reflected by British Gas, which has claimed that its  Smart Energy Reports offer customers the chance to gain detailed insights into their usage, allowing them to cut costs.  

For instance, if you opt-in to have meter readings on a half hourly basis, you can gain access to reports outlining hourly, daily, weekly or monthly energy usage. It even offers a breakdown on what you are spending your money on, whether it be hot water, heating and appliances, while also allowing you to see how your energy use compares to other similar houses.

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