Consumers reject energy smart meters that charge you more at peak times

British households are unwilling to install smart meters that charge different prices for their heating at different times of the day, despite rising costs.

A Yougov survey for the Energy and Utilities Alliance, a trade body, found 55pc of households would not be willing to use a time-of-use smart meter tariff. 

Very few suppliers currently offer these deals, which charge less for energy at off-peak times. However, the energy regulator Ofgem will be granted legal powers in May allowing it to change the way smart meters operate, so information about usage is sent to suppliers every 30 minutes by default, rather than every month as at present. 

The change will mean that from 2025 half-hourly updates will become the default option rather than something households must opt in to.

Suppliers will be able to use the data to change consumer energy prices as much as 48 times per day, opening the door to surge pricing at peak times. This could mean people using energy in peak times, such as the early evening, are charged significantly more than those using power overnight.

However, the public is still wary of controversial smart meters a decade on from their launch, with just four in 10 believing the £13bn project has been worth it, according to a separate survey.

Just 22pc of the 1,610 people polled by Yougov would be willing to pay more for using gas at peak times and less during off-peak times. 55pc would not be willing, and 23pc did not know. 

Mike Foster of the Energy and Utilities Alliance said: “Energy suppliers are not charities, they will offer low unit rates when it suits them but at peak times, we see punishingly high tariffs. 

“Those consumers who cannot switch their demand will need protection from exorbitant peak electricity prices. When it comes to heating, the public aren’t keen. They want warmth when they need it, when it’s cold, not when it is convenient or cheap to supply the energy.”

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