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Energy suppliers call for review of smart meter roll out

Gas and electricity companies have claimed that the current proposal would see households overpay by £1.8bn

Smart meter roll out is £1.8bn too expensive, according to energy suppliers

Smart meter roll out is £1.8bn too expensive, according to energy suppliers

Half of the big six – EDF Energy, npower and ScottishPower – have publically stated that current government plans for the implementation of smart meters in the UK will cost consumers £1.8 more than necessary.

The suppliers believe the current roll out plan is too ambitious. Under the government’s plans smart gas and electricity meters will be installed in every British home by 2020. Energy suppliers are asking that this be reduced to 80% of households.

Suppliers have also asked the government to consider dropping display monitors which come with smart meters and give consumers the option of using free smart phone and tablet apps.

‘This cost is ultimately borne by the consumer’

npower’s Managing Director of Energy Services Simon Stacey said: “The Smart programme is an essential one, but we need to always look to keep its cost down because this cost is ultimately borne by the consumer.

“Now that we finally have clear guidance of the technology platform that is to be used, we need a more flexible deployment model that allows for current and future technologies to keep costs down.”

Bills set to rise in the short term

In order to fund the roll out, energy bills will increase over the next ten years. The current plan will see bills rise by £45 by 2018, although energy companies argue this figure should be closer to £30.

Ministers have stated that despite the upfront cost of the programme, consumers will save money in the long run as they will be able to more effectively monitor their usage. In addition, the cost of meter reading and billing is also expected to drop.

Consumers satisfied with smart meters

A survey carried out by uSwitch in December 2013, showed that households which already have a smart meter are happy with their more accurate billing and consequently more satisfied with their supplier.

The study also found that 81% of respondents used it to monitor and cut down their energy use. A further 87% said they would recommend the technology to a friend.

Research by British Gas, which has delivered smart meters to a selection of its customers, reported that a third of smart meter users were saving up to £75 a year, by monitoring their energy usage and altering their behaviour accordingly.

Read more

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Smart meter displays labelled ‘pointless’ by energy companies

  • Albert

    Can any one out there confirm please ? Have these meters been tested and classed as “SAFE for use with Humans” – the last time I checked these appliances were NOT safe and although the Government wanted them rolled out, they themselves were not being quite legal about it ! Also, why did my smart meter keep reading and charging me for units as if we were at home for 2 weeks or thereabouts when i wasn’t ? Very Smart Meters indeed, I still have the info to prove it !

    • Tom

      I have had my smart meter installed a few months now, and find them to be very accurate indeed. I have worked out how much my 1.2 KWh kettle uses to heat up 5 cups of water in 3 and half minutes, which takes 324 KWh for 4.442 Pence. I have other results for my fridge and also my freezer as well as my shower. It costs me 9 pence to stand in the shower for about 10 minutes etc. You say that you were not at home for two weeks and you were charged. Depending on who your supplier is, they will charge you a standing charge of 26 pence per day for Electricity and 26 pence a day for Gas whether you use it or not. Did you leave your fridge/freezer on while you were away? Well again my fridge and freezer used about 80 pence for both units for 24 hours running. Hope this helps you. I am very happy with my supplier. Utilita

  • Geoffrey Morris

    Got my smart meters

  • GeordieLad

    I’m very dubious of the accuracy of so-called Smart Meters. For the past two or three years I’ve used a similar monitoring device on my electricity feeder at my home and was somewhat disturbed that, after a year or two, the suddenly indicated consumption suddenly increased from the fairly static at approximately 11kWh/day to over 12 kWh/day. Whether it is the display or the sensor I’m not sure (and I can’t obtain replacements for the former although I have replaced the former) but have made independent checks on daily consumption (reading the electricity meter itself at the same time each day for more than two weeks) which confirm the status quo, ie, approx 11kWh/day. Therefore, you can understand my doubts over the accuracy of so-called Smart Meters.

  • Ian Webster

    In July, following continued advertising as regards the benefits of fitting a SMART meter, we went ahead and had one fitted by OVO. Now, unless we wish to go back into the dark ages of self meter reading, we can no longer swap supplier. Communicating with the government department responsible has now led to a response saying that there was a “foundation stage” which started in 2011. Under this phase, suppliers and users would see all the pitfalls and advantages of going over to Samart meters. This phase preceded what they they referred to as the main installation phase, which we thought was now because of the intense advertising, where they were hoping for up to 100% transfer of business and private users by 2020.
    So, pleased be warned….. Equipment is still not compatible supplier to supplier and swapping suppliers will involve returning to manual reading again and loss of data or asking you new supplier to replace a perfectly good piece of equipment with another just because the government cannot get its act together and get suppliers to work to one common standard. A terrible waste of tax payers money.
    If you are going to swap you new supplier should tell you if your new SMART meter is readable by other suppliers, should you wish to change, if they don’t, it would appear they are breaking OFGEM regulations. OVO didn’t tell me!
    What I don’t understand is why we are able to receive incredible TV, Internet and other wire based communication systems from lots of suppliers, but energy suppliers can’t. (Or won’t)
    Beyond belief…