According to European consumer organisation BEUC, they are not.
BEUC has commissioned a report by Université Libre de Bruxelles, which highlights that smart metering appears to be a battleground for economic and technical imperatives of private interests, with little regards to the consumer needs.
According to the report, and unless they are adequately included in discussion, consumers could end up paying for equipment and services they do not need and their data used to track much more than their energy consumption.The report examines a few European smart metering cases and the reasons behind the disappointingly low energy savings of 2-4%.
It claims that such low figures - which go counter to a definition of smart meters as enablers of energy efficiency - are the result of absence of the consumer in all stages of smart metering planning: from creation and definition of functionalities, to usages and data ownership.
Such findings raise some important questions:
- Can utilities and technology providers do more to see the world through the lens of the customer?
- What triggers of engagement do consumers need to embrace smart metering?
- What is the way forward?
To have a read in the full article, please go here
A large section of the conference programme will be dedicated to this important and often under-represented angle. BEUC will represent consumer interests by its Economic Officer, Monika Strajanova, who will fully focus on consumer experience, the cost of smart metering to consumer and its perceived benefits.
Attend Metering, Billing/CRM Europe 2012 and get updated on the latest insights into consumer engagement, energy efficiency behaviour, evolving customer services, new entrants business models and value-added services by our many consumer experts.
If transition to smart metering is to be as widespread as anticipated, this is a much needed dialogue and I hope you will be able to join us and take part in this important debate.
Looking forward to seeing you in October!
PS: Want to learn more about consumer engagement and energy efficiency behaviour? Metering, Billing/CRM Europe 2012 provides in-depth presentations about these very topics so join us on 9-11 October in Amsterdam!