Call for the government to review the smart meter programme

The Institute of Directors has called for the government to review the smart meter programme amidst concerns the scheme is not performing…

According to a new survey fewer than one per cent of energy customers are happy to cover the cost for smart meters. Furthermore, 50 per cent revealed they were unwilling to pay.

The survey carried out by the Institute of Directors (IOD) comprised of nearly 1,000 members, who were asked questions relating to the cost and the amount of money they were willing to spend on smart meters.

Smart meters are designed to remove the need for energy companies to undertake manual readings. It is hoped every home and business will be offered a smart meter by the end of 2020, which will see some 53 million installed in 30 million households and businesses across England, Scotland, and Wales.

The average smart meter costs around £400. The survey found that nine in 10 respondents were prepared to pay no more than half the required cost and 50 per cent said they would not pay anything if they had the choice.

TechUK’s executive director Matthew Evans said: “Smart meters are an essential part of our future energy infrastructure and it is vital that we press on with their deployment…

“As well as providing accurate billing and assisting consumers in changing their energy usage (80 per cent of consumers who already have smart meters have taken at least one step in reducing their energy costs), they are also a fundamental building block of smart grid.

“The smart grid is fundamental to ensuring that we have a more flexible, efficient and resilient energy supply for generations to come.”

Data from the Commons Public Accounts Committee revealed savings on energy bills could fall to as little as two per cent a year. This, coupled with the unwillingness of the public to foot the bill of installing smart meters, has prompted the IOD to urge the government to reconsider the benefits of the scheme.

IOD’s senior energy adviser Dan Lewis said: “The Prime Minister has shown willingness to review major infrastructure projects where there are question over the value for money.

“Now is the right time to review the smart meter programme, which is an overly complex scheme for which the benefits are far from clear.

“It looks very unlikely that smart meters will meet the target to be fully developed by December 2020. Even worse, many of the smart meters going in now will not work if the customer switches to a new supplier.”


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