A study to be published in the coming weeks has questioned whether the introduction of smart energy meters to households across the UK will result in the 3% reduction in energy consumption that the ­Government claims will be achieved by 2030.

The study, compiled by economists at Strathclyde University, said that the total reduction in energy consumption could be up to two-thirds lower.

Speaking in the week that a public awareness campaign for smart meters was launched in Scotland, Professor Peter McGregor, director of the Strathclyde International Public Policy Institute, said that reduced energy bills following the installation of the new meters could encourage some consumers to spend the money they had "saved" on other electrical goods, which would in turn push up their energy consumption.

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McGregor said: "An energy efficiency stimulus of 12%, for example, results in a fall in household electricity consumption of only 4% for reasons that include the fact that the consumption of other goods - and therefore energy - increases."

Between now and 2020, all households and small businesses in the UK will be offered the installation of a smart meter, which will display real-time information about energy consumption.

The hope is that, by giving consumers the means to analyse energy use, they will reduce their consumption. Supporters of smart meters also claim they will enable consumers to take advantage of cheaper off-peak tariffs.

Although there will be no upfront installation fee, smart meters are expected to cost every home around £215 over the next 15 years. The cost is justified by the Department of Energy and Climate Change by the fact that it expects a 2% reduction on the average energy bill of £1328 between now and 2020, rising to £43 a year - 3% - by 2030.

But this has to be set against the £10.6 billion cost of installing the meters, which will be met by households paying up to £11 in running costs a year.

Smart Energy GB, the not-for-profit company which has the task of rolling out the new technology, said ­consumers will benefit by no longer receiving ­inaccurate estimated bills as consumption data will be transmitted directly to the electricity company, meaning there is no need for a person to come to take a meter reading.

The company also claims the new technology will make it easier to switch suppliers and that the expected £6.3bn of savings in reduced energy use and energy company costs - such as not having to employ meter readers - will be passed back to consumers by 2030.

Speaking at the launch of the awareness campaign on Wednesday, Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said the introduction of smart meters would also help tackle the issue of fuel poverty by making it easier for low-income households to pay their bills.