Could ‘smart energy’ save us money (and save the planet)? Energy efficiency is a key strategy in the fight against climate change, and might also help pass on savings to consumers. Smart energy grids use sensors, data and even AI to better handle peaks and slumps in demand, improving energy efficiency and helping to address the issue of intermittency of renewable energy sources.

With enough data, it may be possible to anticipate demand. Some companies already advertise smart systems that can switch off the lights in your house if you accidently leave them on. Could we one day fully automate our energy systems, delivering usage data in real-time to improve efficiency and cut down energy consumption?

What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from Marios, who says he thinks that a “good idea would be the compulsory installation of smart electricity meters that indicate in real-time the usage and the cost of electricity for each household”.

For a response, we put Marios’ comment to Claudia Gamon, and Austrian MEP with the Renew Europe Group, and a member of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. What would she say to Marios’ idea?

Next up, Malcolm is worried about his privacy and personal data if he installs a smart meter in his home (and he makes reference to the infamous “Telescreens” which spy on their owners in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four). Is he right to be concerned?

To get an answer for Malcolm, we put his comment to Michael Villa, Head of Policy at the business association smartEn (Smart Energy Europe). What would he say?

Next, Andy is worried about people hacking into his smart energy meter. Is he right to be concerned about cybersecurity and smart devices?

We put Andy’s comment to Claudia Gamon MEP. What would she say?

Our next comment came from Paul, who questions the need for smart technology. He thinks encouraging consumers to switch off lights and appliances is a better way to increase energy efficiency.

To get a response, we put Paul’s comment to Roland Tual, Project Manager at, the European federation of citizen energy cooperatives. What would he say to Paul?

Finally, Peter is worried that the EU energy market is too fragmented for smart grids to work effectively. Is there anything the EU can do to speed up the adoption of smart energy technology?

How would Michael Villa, Head of Policy at smartEn, respond?

What would Roland Tual, Project Manager at, say?

Would you mind if an algorithm switches off your light? Should smart meters be compulsory for all households? Wouldn’t switching off lights the old-fashioned way be better for the planet than smart technology? And should you worry about privacy or cybersecurity if you install a smart meter in your home? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: BigStock – (c) Daisy Daisy
This debate is part of the ENERGY-SHIFTS project. By participating you are confirming you are 18+. Contributions to the debate may be directly quoted (anonymously) in the ENERGY-SHIFTS reports. If you do not want your contribution to be used, send us an email within two weeks of posting your comment.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 826025.

14 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Facebook definitely needs regulating, the Austrian MEP is right. Technology is the future. However, very strict regulations are required so that tech providers are not a law unto themselves, snooping, selling, censoring and oppressing people, their unique perspectives, their personal opinions, their behaviours and their right to question and challenge.

  2. avatar

    Yes.. I don t want an ecologic dictatorship… You do à lot of stupid thinks on behalf ecology. For example you ban gaz heating then on winter we Don t have enough electricity.. And what are you doing? You reopen coal generator. So stupid.. Some city settle loafing electrical point for car which runs with diesel… So stupid… To close nuclear plant so stupid.. And examples are many… Stop bothering us with ecology dictatorship… And put pressure on China Brazil USA India… Which pollutes much more. All your norms make our industries close and then we import products from China which has no pollution norms… What a disaster… Stop this nonsense

    • avatar

      How long Europe has been polluting the earth before China comes to the pollution? The movement of the manufacturing to China is a direct course of the high pollution rate of China. Europe can enjoy cleaner air and cheap commodities for over forty years of China’s Open Door Policy since 1978 is built upon the sacrifice of the Chinese people.

  3. avatar

    First it will be light, then they will start ration food, who knows what socialist wonders will come after!

  4. avatar

    yeap, why not? necessary not compulsory.. saving energy as saving water will be a standard.

  5. avatar

    In this global era, individualism would make the world unmanageable as we can see with the Covid-2019, people insist their own freedom and ignored other people dying. In a global era, collective security ought to be at higher priority of individual rights. However, it is a bit annoying if we don’t even have freedom to switch off our light. There should be ways to overcome. Cooperate to develop clean and renewable energy is better to strip away freedom to use energy. Of course, freedom to use does not equal to freedom to waste. Raising the energy cost might be necessary as a temporary measure.

  6. avatar

    Why so many people using privacy to avoid duties and responsibility as a community member?

  7. avatar

    I’d prefer to switch off my own lights, thank you.

  8. avatar

    That’s ridiculous. At least start with stores and offices that keep their lights on 24/7

  9. avatar

    It may be a good solution. We are used to have energy at any moment we need it. And we waste a lot of energy. Being used to some limits can be good for all of us.

  10. avatar
    Prodan Razvan

    In comunism everyone got the lights out at 9 at night

  11. avatar
    Bernard Bakker

    In my home lights are switched (and music and TV and the heater and….) are turned off when I leave and on a when I enter. It’s nice, but the application I use is managed by me, no information (more than the location of my phone) is send to someone else. If people want their homes to be ‘smart’ to save energy (or out of convenience) they may choose for this themselves.. BUT, it shouldn’t be something which is forced upon them.

  12. avatar
    Michał Szostało

    This sounds like materialist Wahhabism.

  13. avatar
    Aleksejs Miščuks

    Maybe we’ll start rationing food while we’re at it, or even better start regulating when it’s allowed or not go outside, what shops to visit..oh wait, that’s already happening :D

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