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Existing smart meters benefit companies, not consumers

Friday, November 7th 2014 by Ellen Branagh

Utility companies are approaching the idea of smart homes from a "selfish point of view", according to the creators of a home energy-saving device.

Stefan Grosjean and Richard Morgan, from energy saving device company Smappee, said current smart meters are not beneficial for consumers, but there to make life easier for the energy companies that hand them out.

Smappee clamps onto a household meter's main power cable and can monitor the energy consumption of the individual devices in the home. Its companion app shows energy usage and costs, helping people see where they are wasting energy.

Mr Morgan, business development manager at the company, told Cable.co.uk: “We want to come from a consumer perspective rather than the utilities which are coming at the smart grid, smart metering.

“They’re coming at it from a selfish point of view. The smart meter, the stuff they’re rolling out, it’s going to make their life easier, it’s going to make their business more cost efficient.

“What’s the benefits for average me and you sitting at home? Are we going to be able to reduce our energy consumption? No.

“At the end of the day they think providing us a really simple in-home display that tells us how much my house is consuming right now is going to enable me to reduce my energy consumption. It is not.

“It’s just paying lip-service to the energy commitments that are being forced on them by government.”

By showing the energy consumption of each device in the home, Smappee provides a "virtualisation" that allows households to see where they can make savings.

Its creators claim the £169 device can help save people up to 12% on their annual energy costs, and will offer remote monitoring and control of devices and household appliances, giving "peace of mind" when they are away from home.

Mr Grosjean, CEO and founder of the company, said utility companies need to realise that consumers will not want individual smart meters on every device in their home when they can get the same result through one device and an app on their smartphone or tablet.

He said: "How reasonable is it to build 80 million or 50 million in-home plastic displays when people have smartphones, smart tablets?

“Do you really want such an additional display with the logo of your current utility in your home that will probably after four or five years be broken?

“We don’t need another display, we want one that is in our hands, always with us, on the move.

“We can sound arrogant to the utilities. We need sometimes to be careful because they know that we have introduced a product towards the end customers first, and we can see they really want it, they love it.

“We see utilities coming, saying ’oh, what’s happening, an in-home display? Wow’.

“So they come to us interested in taking part in the offer because they understand they have to offer content to their customers.

“They are losing their customers to the Googles and Nests of this world which come with content, with other solutions, and if that works and helps us make people more aware, we will channel the products through them as well.

“So I don’t want to hit them too hard but they really need to change the way they think and understand they are losing customers.

"They don’t help their customers in saving and understanding their energy bill and going further.”

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