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'I'm the smart meter': Perceptions and experiences of smart technology amongst vulnerable consumers.

Shirani, Fiona, Groves, Christopher ORCID:, Henwood, Karen ORCID:, Pidgeon, Nicholas ORCID: and Roberts, Erin ORCID: 2020. 'I'm the smart meter': Perceptions and experiences of smart technology amongst vulnerable consumers. Energy Policy 144 , 111637. 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111637

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The concept of ‘smart living’ is becoming increasingly prevalent in discussions about anticipated energy futures. However, despite the promises surrounding smart technology, take-up to-date has been relatively low, with existing research showing that concerns about it abound. Smart technology has also been positioned as potentially able to alleviate fuel poverty, yet there has been little exploration of how it is perceived and experienced by vulnerable consumers. In this paper we situate these discussions in the context of interview data with residents in a Welsh Valleys community where smart technologies were due to be installed in some homes as part of a wider energy scheme. Whilst there was some enthusiasm for aspects of smart technology, participants often found it difficult to see how it would improve their everyday lives and energy use, expressing scepticism and concern that energy consumption would be increased. In exploring these issues, we raise questions for the smart energy agenda and supporting policy, highlighting the need to account for people’s different abilities and enthusiasm to relate to smart developments in everyday energy technologies. In particular, we argue for the importance of considering vulnerable consumers in smart transitions, to avoid worsening already precarious positions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0301-4215
Funders: Welsh Government
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 20 May 2020
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2024 18:53

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