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Call for smart meter roll-out deadline to be extended

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The deadline for smart meters to be rolled out should be pushed back by three years, a charity urges.

Citizens Advice, which is also the statutory consumer watchdog for energy markets, has today called on the government to extend the deadline for smart meters to be rolled out from 2020 to 2023.

It said it has been monitoring the roll-out closely and while the majority of people are happy with the devices, it’s aware of a number of problems with the implementation.

These include meters losing smart functionality and people not saving as much energy as they expected. A damning report published last month by a cross-party group of MPs said the planned £11bn roll-out of energy smart meters would reduce customer bills by just £11 a month.

So far, 11 million smart meters have been installed, but a target 42 million need to be fitted by 2020, which Citizens Advice said will mean these consumer issues will continue as providers look to meet the deadline.

Robert Cheesewright, director of policy and communications at Smart Energy GB, the group promoting the roll-out of smart meters, said: “Smart meters will help modernise our energy system and improve customer’s experiences, as Citizens Advice recognise.

“They will deliver billions of pounds worth of savings to our economy, and will pave the way for a cleaner, greener and more efficient energy system.

“By getting a smart meter, we can all save money on our gas and electricity bills and stop manual meter readings and inaccurate estimated bills.

“The smart system is so much better than our outdated analogue system, which is why government wants suppliers to ensure every household is offered a smart meter by 2020.”

Related: See’s Smart meters under attack: what you need to know for more information.

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