‘Time running out’ for UK smart meter rollout

An £11bn Government plan to install smart meters in every UK home and small business by 2020 is in danger of becoming a 'costly failure', MP's have warned.

The scheme aims to put 53 million smart meters in 30 million buildings with associated energy efficiency gains worth £17bn. But ‘time is running out’ to meet the 2020 installation target according to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, which has reviewed the plan.

Committee chair Tim Yeo said: “Smart meters could generate more than £17bn in energy savings for the country yet a series of technical and other issues have resulted in delays to the planned roll-out.

“This Committee first looked at this programme in 2013, highlighting issues which we urged the Government to address. While some progress has been made since then, it’s not enough.

“The energy industry told us that it needs the Government to enable industry-wide solutions, rather than the less efficient alternative of letting each energy supplier develop its own solution.”

edie explains: smart meters

Smart meters measure the total energy used in the same way as a traditional meter, but they can also track when energy is used and how much it costs, highlighting opportunities for savings.

Yeo concluded that the smart meter rollout could prove to be a “costly failure” unless Government made a “significant and immediate change” to its current approach.

Consumer power

Around a millions meters have been installed across the UK so far, mostly by British Gas. Asda, Tesco and the Co-Operative Group are among the big businesses who have adopted smart metering.

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Decc – which is overseeing the scheme – said: “Smart meters will put power into the hands of consumers – they will bring estimated billing to an end, help people manage their energy use, and make it easier to switch suppliers.

“People with smart meters are already seeing reductions in their energy consumption and research out this week showed high satisfaction rates and confidence in the technology.

“The programme is still progressing and thousands of consumers are already enjoying the benefits of smart meters. Over one million meters are now in operation with the number installed growing each month.”

Smart metering at Sustainability Live 2015 

The three-day Sustainability Live event in April will cover measurement systems and smart metering in one of four ‘topic trails’. The ‘Smarter Systems’ trail will focus on the software or product used for measurement, monitoring or analysis of energy use and/or environmental impact, or any software that controls, automates and reduces that usage/impact. 

Meanwhile, the Energy Efficiency Theatre will feature a number of sessions that will focus on measuring and monitoring energy consumption, monitoring technology and how to make the best use of the energy consumption data. 

Register to attend Sustainability Live 2015 for FREE here.

Brad Allen

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