New figures from the Commons public accounts select committee suggest that households will pay a collective sum of £10.6bn, or £215 each, to fund the smart meter rollout over the next 15 years.
In contrast the report states consumers will only save 2% of their annual energy bill, rising to 3% by 2030, as a result of the new technology.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) disagrees and says that homes will save £18.5b over the next 20 years, thanks to smart meters and their monitors, which show people exactly how much energy is costing them.
DECC hopes easier access to this data will convince households to change their habits and save more energy, as well as take advantage of more accurate billing and easier switching.
‘An additional cost people can ill afford’
Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons public accounts select committee, said: “The costs of installing 53 million smart meters will be borne by consumers through their energy bills.
“It will cost around £215 per home or small business over the next 15 years to install the meters – an additional cost people can ill afford. Despite consumers footing the bill, they can on average make a saving of only 2% on the average annual bill of £1,328 until 2020.”
She added that the 2% savings figure was reliant on the public becoming savvier in relation to their energy use and the energy market becoming more competitive. Two conditions she said were not guaranteed.
Smart meters expected to give consumers more control
The government’s smart meter campaign is fronted by mascots Gaz and Leccy, as well as Sir Bob Geldof and launched on 9 July 2014.
Speaking on the UK rollout, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said that smart meters had been designed to empower consumers and help them understand their energy usage. He added that the technology would help lower bills and lead to easier switching for households.
According to figures released by DECC, as of March this year, about 400,000 homes have been fitted with smart meters.
Anyone who does not wish to have a smart meter installed is free to refuse.