Public Awareness, Attitudes and Experience of Smart Meters

Our latest research for DECC looks at attitudes to smart meters and in-home displays (IHDs), including their information needs.

Public Awareness, Attitudes and Experience of Smart Meters

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake research to measure the public’s views on smart meters and in-home displays (IHDs), including their information needs. The study is comprised of biannual nationally representative surveys, conducted face-to-face in homes across Great Britain. The overall objective of this research project is to understand consumer awareness and understanding of and attitudes towards smart meters and to see how these are changing over time.

Key findings from Wave 4

The fourth wave of this research shows slightly more positive attitudes towards smart meters:

  • In Wave 4, overall levels of awareness, ownership, knowledge and interest remained consistent with Wave 3. However, awareness of smart meters through the media increased, possibly due to the British Gas advertising campaign in the months leading up to fieldwork.
  • As with previous waves, the public had still not taken a clear position on the roll-out of smart meters, with over half now undecided as to whether they support or oppose it.
  • Mentions of financial benefits and disadvantages related to smart meters increased in Wave 4. Those interested in having a smart meter installed were more likely to mention budgeting-related reasons, while those not interested were more likely to mention concerns about the costs of smart meters. The proportion mentioning avoiding waste fell slightly compared to Wave 3.
  • As with previous waves, smart meters and IHDs continued to be of greater interest to groups associated with higher energy usage, including the middle-aged, those in larger households (particularly those with children) and those from more affluent demographic groups. Smart meters were also of greater interest to those who had taken action to reduce their energy use and those who felt they could do more to reduce it.
  • In-Home Displays (IHDs) continued to be viewed positively by customers, but there is still potential to increase usage further.


Download the report  showing findings from waves 1-3 of the study.

Download the results for wave 4 of the study.

Technical note

The first wave of the survey was conducted on Ipsos MORI’s weekly omnibus, Capibus, and comprised 2,396 in-home, face-to-face interviews. The respondents were all adults who were at least jointly responsible for paying their household energy bills. The second, third and fourth waves were conducted using the same approach and comprised 2,159, 2,210, and 2,333 in-home, face-to-face interviews respectively. Data were weighted to provide nationally and regionally representative results by:

  • age (by gender);
  • working status (by gender);
  • region (by gender);
  • social grade (by gender);
  • household tenure; and
  • ethnicity within region.

Fieldwork dates for the first three waves were as follows:

  • Wave 1 (30/03/12 - 26/04/12)
  • Wave 2 (05/10/12 - 20/10/12)
  • Wave 3 (05/04/13 - 02/05/13)

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