Smart meters help understand energy

Installing smart meters could help households get a better grip on their energy consumption, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

The new devices, which offer a digital read out of energy use in real-time, will give consumers the ability to modify their energy consumption based on more information.

"Smart meters will help people understand energy better. Standard meters were hidden away in a cupboard not telling you much, but smart meters can show you how much you are saving by turning down the thermostat in an instant," Marian Spain, director of strategy at the Energy Saving Trust told the Independent on Sunday.

"In addition, smart meters make deals more transparent ? if you can see your pattern of energy use, you can see what tariff suits your needs."

ScottishPower, along with EDF, E.On and Scottish and Southern Energy are running trials on the technology, while First Utility has already started roiling it out to new customers.

Under the Energy Bill, which is working its way through parliament, the government has committed to installing smart meters in all homes across the country by 2020.

It remains to be seen whether the market will be fully opened to competition or whether the operation will be centrally run with regional monopolies awarded.

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