New scheme backed by Which? but they want the Government to be involved more.

January 16, 2012

CIA Let Property Blog

 

An example of a new smart meter

A scheme in the UK to install new energy meters in homes takes a stumble because of massive costs.

Consumer campaign group Which? have said the government should be stumping up the costs to install the smart meters rather than energy companies to keep the costs down.

The Government’s energy minister, Charles Hendry, disagrees with the groups claims. He said the £11.1 billion cost of introducing them to 30 million homes and firms from 2014 to 2019 would reap and £18.1 billion benefit.*

This project was started to have a meter device installed in the home to show how much gas and electricity is being used in real-time.

As customers are asking for the new meters energy companies have been installing them.

But Which? are saying it would be better if the Government took on whole streets at a time to install them.

 

Executive director Richard Lloyd said the government did not have a “credible plan” to keep on top of costs.

“Smart meters can bring many benefits, but consumers won’t accept them at any cost, or from suppliers they don’t trust,” he said.

 

“It’s naive to hope that competition in the energy market will keep under control the cost of installing smart meters in every home in the country.”

He said the government should not write a “blank cheque” on behalf of energy customers at a time when people are struggling to pay their bills.

“The Energy Department should stop and review the smart meter roll-out before it becomes an £11bn fiasco,” he said.

These new meters allow customers to monitor how much they are spending and it also cuts out estimated bills. Which? have welcomed this change but say energy companies must report to watchdogs Ofgem to keep an eye on costs of the scheme and to customers using the meters.

In 2011 a National Audit Report was carried out and had a warning attached, there may be ‘major risks’ when this is rolled out in full. Customers may change their behaviour and the way they spend money with the new meters.

Ministers have been warned by Which? to take a look at their approach in this and take over with a strong leadership role.

 

*Quote from BBC

 

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