Energy smart meter project delayed by a year
The smart meter project is now set to be rolled out from 2015 instead of summer 2014, due to the industry needing more time to design, build and test the communications system needed for the project.
Smart meters will show exactly how much gas and electricity is being used per household, in a bid to bring an end to estimated bills.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma said: “I have listened to industry and consumer representatives and recognise the enormous challenges involved in delivering the roll-out of smart meters, which includes visits to around 30 million homes and small businesses and installing over 50 million smart meters over the next seven years. I want to ensure that consumers have a good experience of smart metering from day one.
“That’s why we are allowing additional time for the energy suppliers to complete the roll-out, so industry has the time to get it right for consumers.”
Smart meters and related smart grid technologies are widely regarded as a critical component of the Government’s climate change and energy efficiency strategies.
Recent studies show that providing households and business with real time information on the energy they consume encourages energy-saving measures.
Additionally, connecting smart meters to energy companies’ billing systems guarantees more accurate bills and reduces bill shocks for the consumer.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “It’s disappointing as smart meters are set to spark a step change in how consumers manage their energy use – crucial given how many are struggling with the high cost of energy and inaccurate bills.
“However, it’s important that the Government and the energy industry get this roll-out right for consumers and if this small delay allows that to happen then on balance it has to be the right decision.”
Angela Knight CBE, chief executive of Energy UK said: “We welcome Government’s prudent decision to allow an additional 12 months to complete the smart meter programme. This recognises the scale of the programme and the need to prepare carefully.
“The installation of over 50 million meters in 30 million homes and small businesses across the country is a complex task which must be fulfilled with great care to ensure consumers receive the best possible benefits.
“Allocating extra time to the programme will mean that it can be completed in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, and to greater effect.”