An ambitious £11bn plan to install electricity smart meters in 50m UK homes has been thrown into doubt amidst proposed EU reforms designed to harmonise the domestic market with that of the continent.
This would see the intervals at which electricity is traded shortened from 30 minutes at present to just 15 minutes, the prevailing standard across much of the EU, but such a change would necessitate the removal or replacement of two million smart meters already installed.
Adding to the problem is the fact that Britain’s big six energy companies have already stockpiled millions of smart meters ready for roll-out, all of which may now be unfit for purpose.
Brussels based energy regulator ACER is masterminding the proposals in light of the growing dependence of the UK energy market on imports from Europe, with around 10 per cent of UK demand currently being met by the continent via a series of new subsea interconnectors.
The cost of implementing such a change would likely run into hundreds of millions of pounds and may be required by 2017 if implemented.