Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Smart meters: Your comments

Smart meter and display

Energy suppliers are to be responsible for installing smart meters in all households in the UK by 2020.

Plans for smart meters for millions of homes have been unveiled with trials suggesting the £8bn scheme may help people save £28 a year.

BBC News website readers have been giving us their views on smart meters.


Myself and my partner are both visually impaired. We take great care to conserve the amount of energy we use, especially gas which is obviously very expensive at the moment. Smart meters are definitely the way to go, but our only concern would be how user friendly they would be to visually impaired people? The meters would have to have speech output to make them accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers, otherwise the information they provided would be next to useless. This is a very important issue that energy suppliers need to take into consideration.
Darren Brewer, Birmingham

I have an Eon monitor for the electricity, it is so frightening it does make you very aware of the power you are using, but most of it is essential use anyway so making cuts is limited to turning lights off and feeling very afraid every time you have a cup of tea...
Riccy, Cambridge

It costs £30 for a wireless electronic meter reader, which are available now to all consumers. Surely it would be easier to give everyone this cheap and easy equipment rather than having to install a £400 meter?
Dean, Daventry

I have an electricity "smart meter" from British Gas, I have almost halved my electricity use in the six months I have had it. It tells me for each day, week, and 30 days. I have worked out what uses the most electricity, and have stopped using these items - electric kettle - ouch! now using a gas hob kettle - ahh! I really want a gas meter as well, then I can really look at what I use on a daily basis, and work out if I really need to use things at all. I go about the house turning things off and then looking at the meter, always trying to get the units I have used down! Sad really, but the average daily consumption for a 3 bed, detached, 2 person, 4 cats works out at about 7 units a day - 49 a week - so I allow for 200 units per month - that works out at £20 per month, not including the other fees added (VAT, supply charge etc). It is a way of really making you think about what you use, why do you need to use it and can you get around by not using it?!
Jude Comber, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

I am not a 'typical household'. My energy bills are already much lower than the average. I don't leave things on stand-by. It sounds like I am being asked to pay for something which will provide either no benefit to me, or so little benefit that I will be dead before the end of the payback period. The utilities are the winners here: they can sack their meter readers, and may get some help with peak lopping so they can use more inflexible generation such as nuclear and renewables.
Dave, St Neots, Cambridgeshire

So, 47 million smart meters to be manufactured, no doubt all made in China as there is no chance that any British company would do the decent thing to help our economy by having them made here. These 47 million meters then to be transported by sea, in ships powered by the least refined oil product possible and is one of the most polluting methods available, whereupon they are delivered to 26 million homes by vans creating yet more pollution. The meters then use energy to be able to operate.

And these meters are to help in what way precisely to combat climate change? Nobody ever seems to challenge the carbon footprint of a device or method designed to reduce a carbon footprint.

More likely that they'll sit in your home taunting you about how much energy you're using and at what cost even when you are being as economical as possible. It's also just another way of raising more taxes and exerting control over the population of this country.
Barry, Fareham

I am already very careful in my use of energy and always turn off appliances that are not in use. I do not believe that smart metering will have any significant effect of the amount of energy I use. I am also concerned that the additional wiring between my existing meter (outside) and a new internal smart meter will be expensive and inconvenient to install.
Alan Dunworth, Lymington, Hampshire

I'm having smart meters fitted a week today by the nice people at British Gas. United Utilities is doing the actual work but I'm hoping it might help me show my partner exactly how much her having the heating on permanently is costing us.

I think they're a good idea and I'm looking forward to being able to monitor the household usage.

One thing that is worrying me slightly is that I don't really have a benchmark to confirm the readings of the new meters are correct. Then again, I didn't have one last year when I moved into the house so nothing new there really.
Guy, Leeds

I have a smart meter already, it was sent to me free by my energy supplier months ago. Yes it does initially surprise you turning off and on various appliances the energy being used. But after a couple of weeks I knew which appliances used the most and how to reduce the amount of electricity I am using. With this is mind I cannot see how they can justify spending 8 billion on sending these out to every household at the end of the day it's simple if your not using it switch it off, reduce your wash load temp from 40 to 30 degrees wash and only fill the kettle with the water you need. Simples and not worth spending 8 billion on!
Alan, Wigan

I have been using one of the simple electrical energy monitoring units provided by British Gas for more than a year. This has definitely raised my awareness of energy consumption and I have changed the way in which I use appliances and lighting as a result. Smart metering is to be welcomed.
Wayne Jones, Cardiff

I already have an ancillary power meter that allows me to see this using a clamp-on sensor to the live feed. I can see the power being used, but persuading other household members to turn off lights, computers and televisions does not appear to be any easier, even when I can show how it affects the overall power usage.

You have to have the will to reduce power use, and from experience, I believe that better meters will not change this drastically. What it will do, though, is allow the power companies to reduce the number of meter readers they employ, which will be a major reduction in their expenses.
Peter Gathercole, Minehead, Somerset

I have contacted British Gas asking of they had non-wireless versions and they do not. This is forcing every household to have wireless installed, taking away our choice and making it impossible for those that suffer when near wi-fi.
David, England

I have an electricity Smart Meter and it is wonderful. Not only do we get accurate billing, but I can point to the online usage graphs at 1/2 hour resolution and say to the family "This is where you turned on the tumble-dryer. Look at the power it used. Did you need this?"
David, Northampton

I got a free smart meter from our electricity company last year. It's in a drawer now. By itself it's absolutely useless, as it doesn't enable the user to see what is guzzling the juice. If it did we could still use our appliances but cut down on actual use. I may be a sinner for the occasional use of a tumble drier but the alternative is to open all the windows to ventilate the house, or mould grows around all the windows. Most green 'solutions' are far too simplistic.
Triclops, Hereford

We already have an electricity usage meter supplied by our energy supplier. It enabled us to identify both our refrigerator and fridge-freezer were running far too long. Replacing both with new 'A' rated models enabled our average daily consumption to fall from 18kwh to 12kwh. We are also much more active in monitoring and modifying our use of electricity.
John Rix, Biggleswade

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