Friday 20 October 2023

‘UK smart meter rollout stumbles as public remains unconvinced’

‘UK smart meter rollout stumbles as public remains unconvinced’

The rollout of smart energy meters, aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and consumer control, faces various challenges, according to a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The report highlights slow progress and public scepticism, suggesting that the government has not done enough to gain the public's support for the initiative.

Originally scheduled for completion in 2019, the smart meter rollout has faced delays and shifting targets.

As of March 2023, nearly 57% of all electricity and gas meters in Britain have been upgraded to smart meters.

The PAC report indicates that traditional meter users are less inclined to adopt smart meters, possibly influenced by negative reports on forced meter installations.

Concerns also arise regarding obsolescence, with an estimated seven million smart meters requiring component replacement when the 2G and 3G mobile communication networks are phased out.

The associated costs of these upgrades are likely to be borne by billpayers.

Moreover, the report suggests that wealthier consumers are more likely to have smart meters, leading to concerns of disproportionate benefits for certain demographic groups.

The report calls for an updated assessment of whether smart meters deliver the anticipated energy bill savings.

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told Energy Live News: "The latest NAO report recognised progress made on the rollout of smart meters, acknowledging savings would be worth around £50 a year off a typical dual fuel bill.

"Suppliers have been set ambitious but realistic installation targets so as many people benefit as quickly as possible.

"Energy suppliers are also obliged to upgrade communications equipment to ensure smart meters continue to be connected, and we are working with industry to support a smooth transition for consumers when 2G and 3G is switched off at the end of 2033."

Written by

Sumit Bose

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