The Telegraph / 26 Dec 2013
Consumers face paying hundreds of millions of pounds in unnecessary energy bill levies to fund household “smart meter” displays that companies have warned could be largely redundant.
Ministers want smart energy meters, which take automatic gas and electricity usage readings and send them back to energy companies, installed in every household in Britain by 2020. [SSM Ed. note – Smart Meters are not obligatory]
Bills will initially rise to pay for the £12bn programme, which will fit meters in 30 million homes and businesses.
However, the Government claims it will eventually save consumers money because they will also be provided with an “in-home display” which enables them to see their energy usage in real-time, encouraging them to cut back and be more efficient.
But critics fear the Government has failed to keep up with the pace of technology and the rise of smart-phone apps.
They argue it is pointless to give customers separate display panels when using smart-phone apps could be a cheaper and more popular alternative.
Major energy company ScottishPower told the Telegraph that the displays, which cost £15 to £25 or even more, could be a waste of money and has called for a review of the entire £12bn programme to reduce costs for consumers.
Neil Clitheroe, ScottishPower’s chief executive of generation and retail said: “Removing the obligation of the mandatory requirement of in-home displays could significantly reduce the costs of the smart meter programme to consumers.
“Displays could be offered where appropriate but costs can be reduced by offering alternative information sources such as apps.
“We would like to see a careful review of the entire smart metering programme in order to reduce costs.”
More than one million smart meters have already been installed, mostly by British Gas.