Smart meters: Coming to a home near you

National programme to install smart meters in every home by 2020, officially starts today

Smart meters come with a display which provides real time information on energy consumption

Smart meters come with a display which provides real time information on energy consumption

The campaign to install smart meters in 25m households across the UK gets underway today.

It is hoped that the roll out will help consumers cut their energy bills and reduce greenhouse emissions.

The promotional campaign is being led by Smart Energy GB, which has hired Sir Bob Geldof to front the campaign, alongside mascots “Gaz” and “Leccy”.

Geldof, Gaz and Leccy

Baroness Margaret McDonagh, Chair of Smart Energy GB, said the mischievous Gaz and Leccy were chosen to illustrate the “frustration many people feel about the way we all buy and use gas and electricity.”

McDonagh added that smart meters would help put an end to many energy related problems and give consumers more control and visibility over their bills.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), as of March 2014, just under 400,000 households have had smart meters installed. Of these almost 100,000 were fitted between January and March 2014.

Part of a ‘complete overhaul of the UK’s energy infrastructure’

Speaking on the rollout, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Smart meters put power into the hands of consumers, bringing an end to estimated billing and helping people understand their energy use.

“The nationwide rollout is part of the Government’s complete overhaul of the UK’s energy infrastructure, which will revolutionise the market. It will help reduce consumer bills, enable faster and easier switching, and give households control at the touch of a button.”

Not so smart meters?

Prior to the launch of the campaign a number of concerns have been raised in relation to the benefits of smart meters. A report in the Telegraph this week said official documents had been uncovered which threw doubts over Government claims the technology would wipe £26 off the average bill by 2020. In fact, a recent study of Dutch homes showed consumers equipped with smart meters were actually saving less than half of DECC’s estimates.

There has also been some criticism over the funding of the roll out, which will be done through consumer bills.

Despite these concerns, the Government insists smart meters will lead to long term savings for the UK.

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