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Brits embracing flexible living with majority wanting to use energy in a more flexible way

  • Seven in ten (69 per cent) Brits would like to use energy in a more flexible way
  • 70 per cent say that the pandemic has impacted the way they work and live
  • 66 per cent agree that flexible working as a result of the pandemic has led to a better work/life balance
  • 74 per cent would be willing to change when they do their chores, to save energy and money
  • 25 per cent would be happy to change the time of their shower to save on energy costs
  • 76 per cent agree they would be happy to share more frequent energy readings if it resulted in cheaper energy

A new survey, released today, looks at the attitudes and behaviours of Brits after two years of lockdown living, with results suggesting people are more open to the benefits of more flexible living in different areas of their lives including in the way they use energy. 

Of those surveyed, 70 per cent say the pandemic has impacted the way they work and live, with two thirds (66 per cent) agreeing that flexible working as a result of the pandemic has led to a better work/life balance.

The survey found seven in ten (69%) would like to use energy in a more flexible way.  Cost benefits are the main driver for flexible energy use.  Three quarters (74 per cent) said they would be willing to change when they do their chores to save energy and money.  More than half (53 per cent) say they would be happy to change the time they wash their clothes; a quarter (25 per cent) are happy to change the time they shower and 40 per cent are willing to charge their devices at a different time of day.

Three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents say they are willing to share more frequent energy readings with their supplier, if it results in their energy being cheaper.

The survey, carried out by Smart Energy GB, also found that a large majority of Brits are keen to take a more environmentally-friendly approach to energy use, with 8 in 10 (82 per cent) expressing a preference for their energy to come from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.

The good news for consumers is that cheaper, greener and more flexible energy use, enabled by smart meters, is on the horizon, as Great Britain transitions to a smarter, flexible energy system. Suppliers will increasingly be able to offer customers who want them the option of smart “time of use” tariffs that encourage more flexible use of energy, financially rewarding customers who use energy when demand is low, or when excess energy is available. Even people who do not choose these tariffs will benefit as they will help to flatten the high peaks in demand and spread energy use throughout the day, enabling more use of cheaper, cleaner, renewable energy sources.

The increasing use of half-hourly meter readings will give suppliers a more accurate picture of consumption. With them better informed to only buy what they need to supply their customers’ homes, consumers stand to make significant savings. As suppliers buying the right amount of energy to meet demand means reducing waste and leads to cost savings.

Half-hourly readings are already an option for smart meter owners and are expected to be adopted by an increasing number of people. As well as delivering cost savings for consumers, half-hourly readings will increase the use of more domestically-generated renewable energy if customers' new energy use patterns, where off-peak energy is utilised, enables the grid to do so. This could mean Great Britain will be more energy self-sufficient and less reliant on imported fossil fuels, helping protect our energy supply from price volatility in the global energy market.

The survey results also show people adapting to, and benefiting from flexibility in other areas of their lives. Half of Brits (51 per cent) say they usually watch TV on-demand rather than live (34 per cent); nine in ten (90 per cent) now shop online, and nearly six in ten (57 per cent) use mobile banking apps as their usual method of banking. Two in ten (20 per cent) do online banking in the evening, with nearly half (46 per cent) choosing to do their online shopping at this time.

Victoria Bacon, Director, Smart Energy GB, said: “It’s clear that people are embracing flexibility in so many parts of their lives, and they’re keen to understand and enjoy the benefits of more flexible energy use too. Frequent readings from smart meters are at the heart of a more flexible energy system, providing the information needed to generate the right amount of power at the right time, reducing costly waste in the system, helping flatten peaks in demand and benefiting everyone.”

Speaking on an independent basis, through Imperial Consultants, Dr Jeffrey Hardy, from Imperial College London, explains why more frequent meter readings, enabled by smart meters, are key to flexible energy use: “This smart energy future might sound like it means a more complex relationship between people and energy, however, this isn’t the case. The rollout of smart meters, combined with other sources of data, means that energy businesses can understand what their customers want, need and value in terms of their energy usage. This provides the opportunity for energy suppliers to tailor the service they offer. A smarter energy system lowers bills for all homes and businesses compared to a less smart energy system.”

Smart meters are available from your energy supplier at no additional cost.  You can find out more information by going to: