The energy industry and the Smart Meter UK body is to launch a £85m five year marketing campaign to sell the benefits of smart meters in a bid to meet the Government’s aim to have the technology in every home by 2020.
It will attempt to inform every household in Britain about the technology making it the biggest government-backed customer awareness campaign since the switch to digital TV in 2012.
The project to install smart meters in every home in England, Wales and Scotland is already underway in an early stage, but will begin in earnest in 2015. By Spring 2014, there were already over 300,000 early generation smart meters up and running in homes
The current phase of the national rollout is about making sure all the groundwork is in place. Suppliers, systems and networks are being built and tested.
Smart meters use a visual display allowing customers to see how much electricity and gas they are consuming and automatically relay the data to energy firms.
Energy providers including British Gas and Npower have made early attempts to promote the takeup of their own smart meter services but there is yet to be any major marketing for the technology across the sector. Suppliers have voiced concerns at hitting the 2020 target due to the extra costs they would have to pass on to consumers.
Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of SMCDB – now called Smart Energy GB says: “Our nationwide campaign on the benefits of smart meters will transform the relationship between UK consumers and energy companies. We’re gearing up for an innovative campaign which will capture the attention of every British consumer and put them back in the driving seat.”
Smart Energy GB is responsible for explaining the rollout of smart meters and the benefits the meters can bring every consumer.
The gas and electricity suppliers are responsible for planning and delivering smart meter installation. They can do this however suits their customers and business best, but they must meet the government’s overall timescale and targets along the way. All the energy companies have different plans for smart meter installation, depending on factors like the location of their main customer base.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change will manage the implementation of the programme, and monitor its progress.
The energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for making sure consumers are protected during the installation phase (and beyond). They’ll ensure that the energy companies stick to the standards set out in the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICOP).
Last night UK Energy 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 roll-out 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.”