Households with smart meters could save money by switching to tariffs that aren’t compatible with the devices, new research has found.
Only one in six tariffs is available for households equipped with smart meters, according to data from Compare the Market.
Only 37 of the 223 energy tariffs analyzed are available to households that already have a smart meter, leaving customers with fewer options to change energy supplier.
While the 223 deals are still presented to customers with smart meters, they can lose the functionality of their gadgets if they upgrade to any of these tariffs.
Only one in six tariffs is available for households with smart meters, new data shows
Not only do households with smart meters have less choice, the average tariff available for households with smart meters is £ 18 more per year.
Meanwhile, the average annual price of the switchable bi-fuel tariff for those with smart meters is £ 1,089, compared to £ 1,071 per year for households without smart meters, a difference of £ 18.
Peter Earl, Energy Manager at Compare the Market, said: “The industry should be encouraging people who are not yet to switch to smart meters, but this does not appear to be the case with the variety of tariffs and the pricing.
“There must be more incentives to encourage people to change, including competitive prices.”
The deployment of smart meters has raised a lot of concerns since its launch in 2016, with many households struggling with their first generation devices (SMETS1).
Many have turned out to have a defect where many have stopped working after customers have changed providers.
The average tariff available for households with smart meters is an additional £ 18 per year
The second generation meters, the SMETS2 devices, were supposed to correct this problem, however, many vendors still do not install them and continue to install the SMETS1 models.
The deployment was also significantly halted due to the lockdown and the inability of engineers to enter homes.
Turnout, in general, has also been significantly lower than the government had anticipated, meaning that the initial target date for every household and small business offered a has been pushed back several times.
Peter Earl added: ‘The initial goal of ensuring that all UK homes are offered smart meters by the end of 2020 was clearly unrealistic, as only two-fifths of households have installed them.
“The deployment has been extended, so there are fewer excuses to miss the next deadline, even if the deadlines are tight.
“Smart meters are a useful tool to help people manage their energy use, but millions of homes are stuck with smart meters that work the same way as a traditional meter, which doesn’t allow them to benefit from all the promised advantages.
“We need to see dedicated action to ensure that these meters are soon enrolled in smart systems and so that the customer gets the smart benefits and doesn’t lose them when switching providers.”
Smart meter “slows down” while installations slow down
Separate data from the Ministry of Economic, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) showed a significant drop in the number of smart meters installed in the first three months of the year compared to the previous three months.
Between January and March of this year, 760,900 domestic smart meters were installed – 213,900 fewer than between October and December 2020 – a drop of 22%.
There were 24.2 million smart and advanced meters operating in smart mode and advanced meters at the end of March 2021 – the equivalent of 44% – an increase of only 5% over the same period Last year.
However, much of the slow progress is due to the coronavirus lockdown, with engineers unable to access homes to install new devices.
There has been a significant drop in smart meter installations recently due to the pandemic
Sofia Hutson, energy spokesperson at Compare the Market, said: “A decline in smart meter installations was expected as lockout restrictions were in place for much of the reporting period.
“The disruption due to Covid-19 and the slow rollout of the program to date make the renewed goal of installing smart meters in 85% of homes by 2024 a significant challenge.
“If the industry is to take its net zero ambitions seriously, the smart meter program is an important piece of this puzzle.
“There needs to be more emphasis on ensuring that goals are met and not missed a second time.”
Justina Miltienyte, policy expert at Uswitch, added: “It’s no surprise that smart meter installations last year were weak as suppliers had to block the program during the pandemic.
“But it will now be an uphill battle for suppliers to install smart meters for the 56% of customers who still have a traditional meter by 2025.
“Smart meters will play an important role in the UK’s transition to net zero, but they can also offer practical value to consumers, avoiding the need for meter readings and providing much more accurate bills.”
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