Skip to content

We Pay £25 Million For Smart Meter Advertising!

January 8, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Patsy Lacey




From the Telegraph:


Smart Energy GB, the official campaign to drive take-up of smart gas and electricity meters, has sparked industry debate over its tactics after commissioning a professionally-recorded song about the controversial £11bn scheme.

The organisation, set up by the Government to raise household awareness and support for smart meters, is funded by levies on energy suppliers, which ultimately pass their costs on to consumers through higher bills.

Ministers want suppliers to install the meters, which send automatic energy usage readings back to the companies, in every UK home and business by 2020.

Last week, Smart Energy GB revealed it had spent three months training the “world’s first choir of smart meter experts” to sing a song about the roll-out, specially composed by celebrated choirmaster Tim Rhys Evans.

“Changes”, which features lyrics such as “time for smarter choices”, was recorded at Rockfield Studios, famed for being used by the likes of Oasis and Queen, for release on YouTube and Spotify.

While some in the industry supported the efforts – with staff from firms including British Gas, E.On and SSE taking part – it is understood some suppliers declined to participate amid concerns about whether it represented a worthwhile use of time and money.

Smart Energy GB, which had a budget of £25m for its “multi-channel engagement campaign” in 2016, has refused to disclose how much it spent on the recording.

One senior energy company source said they were “surprised” by the choice of project. “We are all singing from the same hymn sheet, but this is a question of priorities,” they said. “We completely accept we have to raise awareness, but it’s about how it done.”


While they are arguing about the relative benefits or otherwise of this particular project, the real scandal is that we are being forced to pay for advertising to persuade us to have something we don’t want.

By coincidence, I heard one of their ads on the radio today, and Smart Energy GB have also regularly run newspaper adverts. None of this comes cheap, and as the Telegraph points out, the budget for 2016 is £25 million.

By 2020, the full cost could well exceed £100 million.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    January 8, 2017 5:27 pm

    • January 8, 2017 5:37 pm

      There’ll be no more of that going on when Peter is replaced by a smart remote metering solution.

  2. elizadoodle permalink
    January 8, 2017 5:28 pm

    Thank the heralds, I got a new meter last year & it wasn’t ‘smart’. This house is only big enough for one smart alec.

  3. January 8, 2017 5:40 pm

    Don’t good products sell themselves? Or is that the problem…

  4. Watt permalink
    January 8, 2017 6:25 pm

    Costs aside, how much energy was wasted in the production of that vacuous, happy clappy – Oh Aren’t We All So Smiley -fest, exhorting us to ‘change’ ?

  5. John Palmer permalink
    January 8, 2017 6:30 pm

    Smart meters?
    The ECO- loonies taking over the asylum more like!
    If our bold leader – Mr Homewood had a smart meter fitted he’d be off power 24/7.
    These things are not mandatory – tell ‘em to shove ‘em where the sun don’t shine.

    • Tom O permalink
      January 9, 2017 7:05 pm

      John, when enough people have been “sucked into the program,” they WILL be mandatory. Everything scales up, not down.

  6. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 8, 2017 6:57 pm

    I raised a complaint to the ASA regarding the earlier ads for Leccy and Gaz (on the grunds they were untruthful), but the ASA said they were acceptable as not all people would see them as such. Now, I’m not claiming success but I note that those ads have now been replaced with a slightly toned down version. They’re still a load of crap and lies, but not as bad as before. Anybody else feel like complaining to ASA (through their website)? It’s quite easy, and they do respond, surprisingly.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      January 8, 2017 9:23 pm

      “Anybody else feel like complaining to ASA (through their website)? It’s quite easy”

      No thanks – I tried a year or two back.

      “They do respond, surprisingly”

      Indeed they did – and said that my complaint wasn’t justified, as they had previously received another on the same subject – “Zero Emission” electric cars, – and they didn’t think there was anything misleading about that one…

      I’m astonished that they actually ruled against FotE recently!

    • January 9, 2017 2:30 pm

      Link to @HP’s complaint

  7. Jackington permalink
    January 8, 2017 6:58 pm

    I see the word “Budget” (AKA “Ration”) appears on the display and presumably some sort of alarm is activated when it is exceeded. This is sinister and insulting to the many thousands of poor folk whose “Budget” isn’t big enough to keep them alive in winter and of course, if they have a smart meter they can be cut off if they miss their payments.

    • John Palmer permalink
      January 8, 2017 7:11 pm

      quite so….

    • Sparrowhawk permalink
      January 8, 2017 7:37 pm

      It’s alright. There will be legislation to protect you from your own Government. It’s all the other you have to worry about.

    • Hivemind permalink
      January 8, 2017 10:26 pm

      They can be cut off if the company decides to ration power. The UK soon won’t have enough reliable power generation, so when the sun isn’t shining, wind isn’t blowing, the interconnect to France has blown again … you will get it in the neck.

  8. Athelstan permalink
    January 8, 2017 7:57 pm

    I think people should be annoyed, no actually, I think they should up in arms about this insanity, its calamitous energy policy and the lies, scurrilous subterfuge and gross incompetence which lies beneath.

    Global warming is not man made, in the T noise signal there is just gentle background warming, nothing has been detected, nor can there be found any proof of it and anyway even it were not a chimera – there’s FA “we”, humanity could do about it.

    Thus, it is, all based on a political myth, wasted £$€ trillions later we’ve now arrived at the crux in Britain. Indeed, across the whole premise of these unnecessary gewgaws, primarily, we know the grid operation is at some point going to have to limit transmission of electricity and smart meters raise a cornucopia of possibilities for supplier and behind them ‘our’ idiot representatives in the Westminster executive, “cut the north west off, Accrington – they beat Arsenal in the cup!”

    FFS, it’s not as if they are any good, questionable poorly built gadget and so vulnerable to hack into, a useless toy and just cheap Chinese made trash at that. Woe betide anyone coming to my front door and trying to sell me the kooksRus meter dream. For evidently, I’m already in control of my electricity – I can switch it off anytime I like but I’m buggered if I’m going to allow some apparatchik in Westminster or, any town council to be able to do so and before you say “that’s not going to happen!” – I’ll say by way of example: RIPA enacted in 2000 by the Marxists aka Bliar’s scum party – in reply.

    The fightback needs to gain real traction, prissyfied bureaucrats need to be told where to get off.

    Out of the Brussels Empire will be the start, then we need to sort our own lot out, to remind them who it is they serve and thus to administer Le maximum grand Wellington boot a la arse – just to re-emphasize just who it is who are the masters.

  9. Peter Langdon permalink
    January 8, 2017 8:10 pm

    LBC radio is presently running an advert every 15 minutes or so saying “Every household will be able to have a smart meter installed at no extra cost”. On the Web, “smartmeters.” advertising says “Meters and their installation come at no extra cost and there won’t be any additional charges on your energy bill once your meter is fitted.”
    These two comments are disingenuous if not dishonest. The meters will cost a total of £11bn or some £350 – £400 each; with this cost added to everyone’s energy bills whether or not users choose to have a meter fitted or not.

    And they are unlikely to work if the supplier is changed.

    • January 9, 2017 11:41 am

      Ironically, Classic FM from the LBC stable, runs an ad from the ASA itself at very regular intervals, a large part of their budget much be spent on such self-preserving ads.

  10. January 8, 2017 9:40 pm

    This kind of thing makes my toes curl up- it reminds me of the ‘oh so worthy’ Millennium Dome, and that awful Blackadder episode that went with it.

  11. tom0mason permalink
    January 8, 2017 10:48 pm

    ‘Smart’ meter aka ‘Gullibility meter’

  12. catweazle666 permalink
    January 9, 2017 1:50 am

    “Smart” meters?

    Yeah, right.

    Nothing that a couple of crocodile clips and a bit of wire won’t fix…

    • Athelstan permalink
      January 9, 2017 9:14 am


  13. January 9, 2017 11:42 am

    I had a phone call from my supplier British Gas asking me if I would like to have a smart meter. I said no thanks and the caller asked me why not. I said I was concerned that this might lead to them switching off my appliances when they were short of power. She replied that she had not heard of that.

    My concern is that eventually they will force us to have them. One way is by introducing real time pricing and offering special low rates at certain times for those on smart meters. Those on ordinary meters will not be able to do this, obviously. Finally they will put up prices for those few holding out on traditional meters. Then when we are all on smart meters the prices will vary throughout the day and we will all be paying more –except during the power cuts!

    • 3x2 permalink
      January 9, 2017 3:50 pm

      One way is by introducing real time pricing and offering special low rates at certain times for those on smart meters.

      The problem, as I see it (or at least one of them), is that such schemes should have been in place before the ‘roll out’. Such ideas are being promoted as possible future benefits while, right now, for the consumer, there are none. Remote reading or gawping at a readout are not something I care too much about. Not for 11 billion.

  14. January 9, 2017 12:27 pm

    Smart meters, dumb customers.

  15. Coeur de Lion permalink
    January 9, 2017 1:37 pm

    I imagine the Smart Meter is a device for managing demand when supply is problematic (dark. Cold , no
    Wind). So to be effective there will have to be a warning alarm to allow switch off of the old grannies’ two-bar heater. Does the spec include this?

  16. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    January 9, 2017 1:49 pm

    Was listening to Smooth Radio this am because it rather sticks to music (too many Ads) and minimal babble round the table etc. Anyway…the Leccy and Gazz Ad came on at least 6 times in 4 hours, so they are clearly pushing for take up.

    Another thing…the VHF FM service in UK. I notice its rather crap with annoying low level crackle. Its been there quite a while and I suspect transmitter power is being lowered. Kinda fits in with a DAB Ad just now…blah blah “Go Digital” jingle, jingle. Another source of rolling repeating crap of course!

  17. January 9, 2017 2:47 pm

    Twitter Searches
    phrase smartEnergyGB
    Reveal s : “gold winner of PRWeek Best Place to Work award for ‘dynamic and progressive’ team culture at @SmartEnergyGB ! ”

    phrase ASA_UK smart
    Shows me that most people complaining to asa are EMF conspiracy nuts.
    That makes it easy for ASA to bin complaints, so make it clear you are not one of them.

  18. January 9, 2017 3:10 pm

    I see they are pushing iffy data
    New research shows +40% of consumers have seen energy bills go down since installing a smartmeter
    Not robust : Self selecting sample .. No sample size given

  19. Bloke down the pub permalink
    January 9, 2017 5:37 pm

    Perhaps the title of this piece should ‘We Pay £25 Million For Advertising Smart Meters!’

  20. January 9, 2017 5:41 pm

    I have no interest in hackable gadgets.

  21. Bitter&twisted permalink
    January 10, 2017 12:18 pm

    I have already told my supplier exactly what they can do with their “smart” meter.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: