Smart meters may not deliver on aims warn MPs

The roll out of smart meters to 53 million British homes and businesses may not deliver on its aims, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has warned.

Installing smart meters in households and commercial premises is designed to save about £26 a year – or just under 2 percent of an average £1,328 domestic dual fuel bill – if customers cut their energy usage and move demand away from peak times.

Smartest logoYet the cost of rolling out the meters has been estimated at £10.9 billion or £215 per house or business over five years, with the cost of consumers peaking at £11 in 2017.

MPs on the committee warned the technology may be outdated by the time it is installed, with customers being forced to pay for in-house displays that they may not use, instead opting to receive information on their smart phones.

Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said:

“The lack of clarity on the impact of smart meters on vulnerable and low-income consumers is particularly concerning.

“Many of those consumers currently use prepayment meters, but there is no regulatory obligation on companies to provide prepayment smart meters.

“The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) must ensure vulnerable and low income households get the benefits available from smart meters.”

DECC must also monitor the roll out to make sure smart meters are of a standard design so customers can switch suppliers without having to have replacement smart meters installed, Hodge added.

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