Who Benefits From Smart Meters?
Will Smart Meters a Make a Difference?
The UK Government, like many others around the world, is steam-rolling towards the widespread installation of smart meters for utilities into 26 million homes, but who benefits more: the energy consumer or the energy supplier?
Consumers – Will Smart Meters Make A Difference?
The basic premise behind the drive for the installation of smart meters in homes and businesses is that they make it easier for consumers to monitor their energy consumption, thereby making it easier for them to save energy, carbon emissions and money. This of course relies on consumers choosing to save energy, rather than saving on some appliances so they can use more elsewhere e.g. larger TV, better computer, etc. Those that truly intend to cut back on energy use do so anyway by switching off unused electrical appliances and investing in energy efficiency, incentivised by expensive energy bills.
Smart meters have the potential to interact with appliances too: they could broadcast the current price for electricity (based on current network levels of demand) to various appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and so on, which could be set so that they only work if the price is below a cutoff figure specified by the consumer.
This would certainly save households money, as well as massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the national emissions, but such potential may well not be realized: the specifications for smart meters are yet to be decided upon by the Government. It has already been accused of underestimating the true cost of installing the meters.