Britain’s Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets regulator, known as Ofgem, has announced that consumers receiving smart meters ahead of the government’s mandated 2014 rollout, will be provided improved customer protection. Ofgem is also considering whether additional protections for business consumers are needed as well, especially small businesses.
The Smart Specification Working Group (SSWG) has expressed support for the UK government’s recently announced accelerated roll-out of smart meters. The Group was established in June 2010 by global smart energy system companies committed to helping British consumers benefit from smart energy, including Elster, Landis+Gyr, and Secure Meters. Recently, GE, Itron, Logica, SAP, Sensus, and Trilliant have joined the SSWG.
The US believes consumers can become energy innovators. At the Building the 21st Century Grid event, it announced support for all Americans to take advantage of new tools and services to manage their energy use and save on their utility bills. This is part of a wider set of initiatives and policy framework announced to support ‘smart grid’ – applying digital technologies to the electric system – to enable a clean energy economy, ensure a secure and reliable grid, and foster innovation and jobs of the future. There are plans to track progress and push further on energy education programmes.
Smart people want to save energy: It keeps utility bills down and is good for the planet. A smart grid, which gives feedback to both consumers and electricity producers on how much energy is being used and when it’s most in demand, can help make those energy savings happen. But smart, profit-motivated utility companies don’t all share the goals of smart people. Right now, they have more control over when and how the smart grid will develop, and they’re losing interest in moving forward.
Despite hundreds of studies that have determined the safety of radio frequencies, such as emitted by smart meters, a small percentage of consumers continue to express concern over their future health.
According to new research by Accenture, a majority of consumers would consider buying electricity from companies other than traditional energy utilities. Revealing the Values of the New Energy Consumer polled 10,199 people in 18 countries and found that 73 percent would consider buying electricity, energy efficiency products, and related services from companies other than traditional energy providers such as product retailers, cable or phone companies, and online sites or brands.
A new report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that a majority of consumers polled say they are willing to use data from smart meters to conserve energy. However, utilities need to do a better job of enabling customers to use the meters to their full potential. The survey also found that less than half of the 1,700 respondents had heard of smart meters.