What do Brits really think of smart meters?

And do they intend to get one?

Updated

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Overview

You’re fumbling around in a cupboard or your garage, fighting off cobwebs and stretching over clutter just to get a reading for your energy provider. While smart meters could prevent all this faffing there are only 15.3 million in operation in the UK. This is not really surprising and it’s fair to say that smart meters have received a bit (or a lot) of bad press due to their technical faults and failing to deliver on money saving benefits. We did some research to find out if the British public support the installation of smart meters and whether they intend to get one.

Do Brits support the installation of smart meters?

Our research found that three-fifths (58%) of Brits support the concept of smart meters, which is equivalent to 30,629,755 Brits. On the other hand one-fifth (20%) said that they do not agree with smart meters. A further fifth (21%) didn’t have an opinion on them and 1% of Brits didn’t know what a smart meter was.

Opinion Percentage
In support of them 58.45%
No opinion 20.60%
Not in support of them 19.60%
Don't know what a smart meter is 1.35%

Are Brits intending to get smart meters?

Despite 58% of Brits supporting the implementation of smart meters only 11% intend to get one installed, meaning that although Brits generally think they are a good idea they do not plan to get one. A massive 58% have no intention of having a smart meter installed, equivalent to 30.4 million Brits. The reasons for why they are planning to not have one vary.

Intensions Percentage
Intend to get one 10.59%
Don't intend to get one 58.10%

Why are Brits not intending to get smart meters?

The top reason Brits are not getting a smart meter is that customers are not convinced that they will save them money, with a quarter of Brits (25%) saying that they do not intend to get a smart meter for this reason. Some energy companies are putting pressure on Brits to change their meters and this is the second most common reason (24% of Brits) that is stopping Brits from switching to smart meters. It is well documented that smart meters can have technical faults and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. A fifth (22%) of consumers don’t believe that smart meters work well and that this is preventing them from getting one installed.

Reason Percentage
Don't like being pressured by their energy company to get a smart meter 24.23%
Don't believe that smart meters currently work well 21.79%
Can't be bothered to have their meter changed 9.98%
Don't know enough about smart meters 10.04%
Like the current system 14.65%
Worried about smart meters being hacked 14.29%
Don't think smart meters will actually save them any money 25.24%
Worried that they won't understand how to use a smart meter 5.47%
Not aware that smart meters can currently be installed where they live 5.12%
Other reasons 7.10%
N/A - Intend to get a smart meter 10.59%
N/A - Already have a smart meter 27.27%
N/A - Not responsible for household decisions 3.24%

Regional opinions on smart meters

Yorkshire and Humberside is the region that is most in favour of smart meters, with over a third (68%) of residents there supporting the principle of smart meters. East Anglia supports the principle of smart meters the least, with a quarter of residents (24%) saying that smart meters are a bad idea.

East Anglia East Midlands London North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber
Thinks they are a good idea 53.33% 55.48% 62.41% 67.47% 56.88% 46.15% 52.98% 58.72% 58.10% 56.73% 58.10% 68.32%
No opinion about them 21.67% 24.66% 18.80% 18.07% 21.10% 36.54% 23.18% 19.22% 21.79% 20.19% 19.55% 14.29%
Thinks they are a bad idea 24.44% 19.18% 16.92% 12.05% 21.56% 11.54% 22.52% 19.93% 19.55% 20.19% 21.23% 17.39%
Don't know what a smart meter is 0.56% 0.68% 1.88% 2.41% 0.46% 5.77% 1.32% 2.14% 0.56% 2.88% 1.12% 0%

Northern Ireland is where the highest amount of residents do not intend to get a smart meter (78%). At the other end of the scale, 18% of residents from the South East of England intend to get a smart meter, making it the region where the most residents are planning to have smart meters installed.

East Anglia East Midlands London North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber
Intends to get a smart meter 8.94% 5.59% 13.41% 6.70% 8.94% 4.47% 8.94% 17.88% 12.85% 7.26% 10.06% 11.73%
Don't intend to get a smart meter 59.78% 62.76% 70.11% 46.91% 60.83% 77.55% 64.43% 58.91% 57.30% 57.43% 46.89% 44.72%

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Onepoll on 7–11 November 2019 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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