Centrica highlights need for smart meter clarity

On Friday Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, announced that it would be holding back it's full scale roll out of smart meters until the Government makes it plans for the new meters clearer. Given that British Gas has already supplied 400,000 smart meters for homes and businesses this is not a move that should be overlooked by the Government.

The company said in a statement that it "await[s] confirmation from [the] Government of the smart meter national implementation programme, and from the regulator regarding its plans for Retail Market Reform, before we proceed to full scale roll out."

Centrica has highlighted a concern that is shared by its competitors and that is hampering many of the big energy projects currently underway - a lack of clarity from Whitehall, both about benefits realisation and roll out specifics.

While this lack of clarity may be a concern for the energy industry, it is potentially even more damaging for consumers, who are still facing spiralling energy prices, with very little to empower them to make those behavioural changes that will reduce household bills and help the Government meet its energy targets.

On a more positive note, the final smart meter specifications are expected to be agreed soon.  We can only hope that they will be accompanied by a detailed programme outlining how the energy industry and consumers alike will benefit from the roll out, and perhaps more importantly a clear strategy for engaging consumers during the smart meter foundation years up to 2014.

Despite recent reservations, smart meters are still the technology that has the best potential to change how we use energy in the long term ‚¬Å¡¬" but as Centrica has highlighted, the energy industry needs a clear vision to rally behind in the short term.

Nick Wellington

Topics: edie
Tags: | gas | Retail | smart meters | technology
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