The smart technology is being introduced in an attempt to help households lower their energy bills and reduce consumption levels, in line with the EU’s environmental targets.
The cost of each meter stands at roughly £200 and energy suppliers have admitted they will be passing this cost on to bill payers.
Energy suppliers will officially begin the mass roll out of smart meters next year. However, a number of providers, including British Gas and Ovo Energy, have already begun equipping their customers with smart meters.
The full roll out is expected to be finished by 2020 and will be backed by a media campaign featuring Sir Bob Geldof.
How do smart meters work?
Smart meters record energy consumption every 30 minutes and relay the information to energy suppliers. This should lead to more accurate bills and mean there is no need for households to have to send in their own meter readings.
In addition, new meters are connected to a digital display which shows consumers how much energy they are consuming in real time. It is hoped that the latter will encourage energy saving behaviour.
Less effective than first thought?
However, according to a report in the Telegraph, official documents have shown that smart meters will not help consumers save as much money as previously thought.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has previously stated that smart technology would cut bills by £26 per year by 2020. The equivalent of 2.8% less electricity and 2% less gas. In stark contrast, a recent study of Dutch homes found homes equipped with the technology used only 0.9% less gas and 0.6% less electricity.
The report also claims smart meter technology will not work in one third of British homes due to thick walls which could block the signal emitted by the smart meter.
Research carried out by energy regulator Ofgem also found that smart meters were potentially at risk of cybercrimes.