UK television stations are showing multiple commercials such as this one which make claims about making significant savings if you get a smart meter (the linked ad claims fitting a smart meter would save enough money to run a mobility scooter for over 1000 miles). All these ads are made by the Campaign for a Smarter Britain.
Other examples of things that they claim can be powered by getting a smart meter:
- Sewing machine for nearly 200 days of operation
- 265 blow-dryers over the course of a year
- Three major cities over the course of a year (if everybody installed a smart meter)
Honestly though, these claims seem utterly outrageous to me. I fail to see how any change in the way energy is metered could lead to significant energy savings. For example I'm out at work 5 days out of 7 for 11 hours a day and the energy consumption of my home over that period is negligible. It would still be negligible regardless of what kind of meter I had installed. What's more, there's a report circulating that claims any actual savings for a household are tiny.
Meanwhile, I've received several letters from my energy supplier claiming that my meter is unsafe and needs to be replaced, and the letters imply that getting a smart meter is a legal requirement when I know for a fact that it's not. These letters only stopped when I agreed to have the old meter replaced with another non-smart meter.
To me the whole thing smacks of a scam. The group pushing it feels far more like an astro-turf campaign, and the real reasons for pushing smart meters has nothing to do with saving money or energy. The only way I can see them "saving" me money is if they introduce price hikes for people not on smart meters. In spite of all this, smart meter uptake has fallen badly behind the target the government has set.
So my questions are:
- Does a smart meter actually save energy and if so, how?
- Does a smart meter actually save me money and if so, how?
- Are the claims made in the advertising campaign realistic?