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Gathering intelligence around smart meters

The deadline for the UK’s smart meters roll out has been pushed back (again) to 2024. So surely this now means that it’s all plain sailing for suppliers to meet the targets?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be that simple. One of the big challenges for suppliers has continued to be public perception of smart meters, fuelled by problems that many customers have experienced and that have received widespread media coverage. This, combined with sometimes less than compelling communications on the benefits of smart meters, has meant that take up rates have been far lower than originally anticipated during the planning stages of the rollout. Accent’s soon-to-be-published research for Citizens Advice explores consumer attitudes to smart meters, with a particular focus on the data they collect and how comfortable people feel with the various ways in which it is, and could be, used. Crucially, it also sheds light on the potential benefits to the customer and which facets are more and less likely to encourage people to agree to share their data, and at different levels of detail.

There is also much to be learnt in the process of how retailers can communicate with their customers on smart meters, from initial contact right through to installation. Since 2007 Accent has been helping the energy sector understand what smart metering does and the impact it has. In those 12 years we have built up a considerable body of expertise and our research has been (and is being) used in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • Helping energy providers meet regulators’ compliance requirements
  • Building understanding of the impact of smart metering on energy use
  • Supporting the development of smart metering products
  • Assessing customer satisfaction
  • Informing advocacy on consumer issues

Our research centres on monitoring supplier adherence to the Smart Meter Installation Code of Conduct (SMICoP) but goes beyond this to help suppliers understand how they can maximise customer satisfaction with the process during this important customer contact point.

With several more years to go with the extended rollout, this provides a valuable opportunity to continue to learn from past mistakes and improve the experience for customers, suppliers and ultimately the energy sector as a whole.

For more information on the range of work we do in the energy sector contact