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Smart meter rollout put on pause due to virus outbreak

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The roll-out of smart meters has been temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Energy UK has confirmed.

The trade body said its members have suspended all non-essential field-based activity in line with the latest guidance from the government to limit social contact.

However, suppliers will continue to install smart meters in an emergency or urgent situation, for example, if there was a fault or loss of supply.

An Energy UK spokesperson said: “Currently, all energy suppliers are following government, NHS and Public Health England guidelines in relation to all home visits.

“Due to the ever-evolving nature of the situation, and uncertainty around how long any restrictions may be in place, it is too early to assess the implications for the smart meter roll out.”

Smart meters are meant to save people money on their gas and electricity bills by providing suppliers with accurate meter readings, bringing an end to estimates.

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

Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch, said: “It’s no surprise that ‘non-essential’ work like the smart meters roll-out has been paused. The risk of engineers and consumers catching or spreading the virus is too great.

“However, if you have an urgent problem that needs fixing, it’s reassuring to know that workers will continue to fix smart meters in emergency situations such as loss of power supply.

“We trust that the government and Ofgem will be pragmatic about evaluating energy suppliers’ targets on smart meter installation, and in agreeing new goals once the pandemic has passed.

“If you were expecting to have a smart meter installed in the next few weeks, contact your supplier and discuss your options with them.”

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