We Pay £25 Million For Smart Meter Advertising!
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.