More than seven million smart meters are to be installed in homes across Great Britain under a £1 billion mass roll-out programme backed by the European Investment Bank.
Smart meters contain a digital display – like a taxi meter – showing consumers how much energy they are using and how much it is costing them.
The programme will support the UK Government’s plans to ensure that more than 50 million smart electricity and gas meters are installed in every domestic property in Great Britain by 2020.
The British energy industry has spent the last four years learning, testing, trialling and its smart meter programme, the mass roll-out for which is due to start in 2016.
The European Investment Bank programme is a key part of the scaling up the use of smart meters in Britain, and is one of the largest smart meter schemes in Europe to date. The roll-out will be managed by Calvin Capital, a leading funder, owner and manager of gas and electricity meters. Individual meters will then be used by customers of energy suppliers.
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice-President, said: “Smart meters make it easier for households and businesses to save energy and this huge roll-out will help to significantly cut carbon emissions.
“As part of our commitment to support GB energy investment, the European Investment Bank is pleased to provide GBP 360 million to back Calvin’s crucial project that will enable millions of energy users to save money. This programme provides a benchmark for similar smart meter schemes across Europe in the future.”
Scotland’s sole Tory Euro-MP – Dr. Ian Duncan – welcomed the EU initiative.
He said: “Against the backdrop of UN climate talks in Paris – which I will be attending – this is the perfect time to be focusing on measures to boost energy efficiency.
“The meters should mean households are only billed for the energy they actually use, meaning an end to sometimes costly estimated bills.
“This announcement complements the positive work being done by the UK Conservative government, which plans to ensure that all homes and small businesses receive a smart meter by the end of 2020.”