Smart meter rollout gathers momentum

The roll out of smart meters for millions of businesses and households took a step forward yesterday with the publication of Government decisions on consumer engagement, privacy and security.

The Government aims to have every household equipped with smart meters which will give consumers near real time information on their energy use, helping them to become more energy efficiency.

Smart meters will also provide consumers with accurate information, heralding an end to estimated bills.

The proposals set out in the publication have been put forward to ensure that consumer rights are protected as the installations commence.

They include ensuring that customers have a choice of how often their energy supplier can access their energy consumption data.

In addition, the proposals stop suppliers from using the data for marketing purposes unless they have consent. They also force suppliers to give their customers reminders about the choices they have made and how they can change their mind.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Baroness Verma said: “The introduction of smart meters nationwide is of course an enormous challenge, representing a vast upgrade of our energy system, but with huge potential benefits for millions of homes and businesses and for Great Britain as a whole.

“Let me be clear: the consumer comes first. That’s why we are tackling issues such as privacy, security, consumer protection and communications now, working with industry and consumer groups to make sure we get this right ahead of the mass rollout.”

The mass roll-out of smart meters will start in late 2014 and is set to be completed in 2019, during which time, energy suppliers will be responsible for replacing over 53 million gas and electricity meters, involving visits to 30 million homes and small businesses.

Conor McGlone

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