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Smart meter installation ‘way off the mark’ despite deadline extension

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Energy suppliers are still lagging when it comes to meeting the target for smart meter installations.

The latest quarterly smart meter statistics reveal that as of 30 September 2019, there were 15.6 million smart and advanced gadgets operating in homes and businesses across Great Britain.

This is an increase of 4.1% from the previous quarter and in the three months to September, 1.07m smart meters were installed by large suppliers.

This represents a 5.9% increase in installation rates from the previous quarter, and the 11th consecutive quarter where more than one million displays were installed.

Originally the government committed to smart meters being offered to every home and small business by the end of 2020. But this summer, the deadline was pushed back to 2024 and an installation target of 85% was given.

However, an energy expert estimates that given the current installation rates, suppliers won’t hit the 85% target until 2028 – a further four years after the extended deadline.

Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “Despite a small uplift in the number of smart meters in operation, the current installation rate is still way off the mark if the 2024 target is to be achieved.

“If installations carry on at the current pace, we estimate that we won’t see a smart meter in 85% of homes until at least 2028 – four years past the recently revised deadline. The roll-out of smart meters has been riddled with problems from day one, including meters losing their smart functionality when a user switches supplier.

“With 3.1 million ‘smart’ meters known to be operating in ‘dumb’ mode, the public could be forgiven for being cynical about the benefits of these devices which, in theory, should provide more efficient and affordable energy.”