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Experience of smart meter use

We are talking to people who have a smart meter installed in their home about their experiences of using it. This research has been commissioned by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Family at home with radiator.jpgAbout the research

NatCen has been commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to carry out a research study with people who have smart meters for their gas and/or electricity supply in their homes, and who may have different circumstances that influence how they experience and pay for their energy use. We want to understand the experiences of different smart meter users, including whether the technology makes a difference to how they interact with their energy use.

We would like to invite you to take part in a one to one in-depth conversation (‘interview’) about your experiences.   

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a type of gas and/or electricity meter that can send meter readings to your energy supplier for more accurate energy bills. Smart meters usually come with a monitor or screen (digital in-home display) that provides you with information about the energy you have used.

What’s involved?

Noun _Speech Bubble _162682 (2)  A one-to-one interview with a NatCen researcher lasting around an hour, at a time convenient for you

Mobile phone  The interview can be done online on a video call (using Microsoft Teams) or by phone, whichever you prefer

Noun _Plug _1942336 (1)  The researcher will ask you about your household, how you use your gas and/or electricity, your experiences of your smart meter and how it has made a difference to your life

House  It will help if you can show the researcher around your home on the video call or talk through each room. This will help them to understand how you use energy in your home

Noun _users _2120769  Taking part is completely up to you. If you change your mind about taking part, just let us know

Noun _padlock _2462770  Everything you say will be confidential and only Propeller and NatCen will know you have taken part. NatCen will store your information securely and your name will not be in the published report

Noun _Money _450067  As a thank you you’ll receive a £50 Love2Shop gift voucher by post after the interview, which can be used in store or online

 Woman Cooking In Kitchen

Do I need to prepare for the interview?

There is nothing in particular you need to do to prepare for the interview. You also don’t need any special knowledge - we just want to hear about your experiences and what you think.

What will I receive for taking part?

You will be sent a £50 Love2Shop voucher through the post shortly after the interview as a thank you for your time. This voucher can be used in a variety of high street stores (both online and in person).

Can I request special arrangements?

If you need any special arrangements to enable you to take part, let us know and we will be happy to help. For instance, you might want to have a friend, relative or support worker with you during the interview. Or you might need adjustments because of a disability or health condition.

Do I have to answer all the questions?

Don’t worry – you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, we can just skip on to the next one or take a break if you need to. You are also free to change your mind about being interviewed at any point, including during the interview.

Recording the interview

With your consent, we will audio record the interview so that we have an accurate record of what is said. The recording will be stored securely at NatCen and only the research team will have access to it.

How will you deal with my personal information?

We will treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You can find out more about our credentials and who we are here and how we protect your personal information here

For this research the legal basis for processing data is ’consent’, as your consent is required to participate in this research, and doing so will involve consenting to the processing of the data provided. This data will be deleted within six months of publication of the results of this research.

Are there any exceptions to how my personal information will be dealt with?

If you say something which indicates that you or someone else might be at risk of harm, we may have to tell the emergency or social services. Depending on individual circumstances, we will try to discuss this with you first.

Why have I been selected to take part?

You have been approached to take part either by one of the Propeller recruiters that we work with, by a support organisation that is helping us, or directly by a NatCen researcher. We are aiming to interview a range of people who have smart meters, and have different circumstances that affect how they use and pay for energy, from different areas and so will not be able to talk to everyone that is interested in taking part.

Who funds the study?

The study is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Where can I find out more?

For anything not covered here, please contact Georgia Lucey, Researcher at NatCen, on smartmeters@natcen.ac.uk or 0808168 2153.