Smart meters ‘a waste of money’, MPs told

The plan to introduce smart meters into every home across Britain is a “waste of money”, MPs have been told.

The units are designed to show people exactly how much energy they are using at any time, but the project has been delayed by a year because of problems.

Energy analyst Alex Henney said people could be given live information on their energy use via weblinks or smartphone apps much more cheaply.

He told the energy select committee the smart meter scheme would cost £600m.

A smart meter is a device which provides real-time information about how much gas and electricity is being used – and how much it costs – to the customers and to the energy provider.

The idea is that this should encourage people to cut energy use or switch their energy consumption to off-peak hours, for example by using the washing machine at a different time of day.

Questions about value for money

The original plan to require energy firms to offer smart meters with in-home displays to every home in Britain was announced by Ed Miliband when he was Climate Change Secretary in the last Labour government. The coalition has continued with the plan.

Under this plan, the energy suppliers will pay to install and maintain the meters, and they will pass on this cost to their customers. The hope is that in the long run the energy companies and customers will save more than the displays cost.

But in evidence to the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee Mr Henney said that they would cost around £600m to introduce nationwide, and predicted that “around half” of them would never be used.

He said: “You’ve got to ask yourself, firstly what proportion [of the public] are going to use it (the in-house display), and secondly why can’t they use their smartphones or their computers?”

The government will be running a computer system to co-ordinate the information received by smart meters.

In written evidence he had previously given to the committee, Mr Henney, a former London Electricity board member and author of various books and studies on energy issues including smart metering, said the technology behind the scheme was “another government IT disaster in the making”.

Delays and cost over-runs

When asked if he thought the units were good value Tony House, from energy company SSE, said that “for an increasing segment of the population… the benefits are better delivered through something other than an in-house display”.

Read more: BBC News – Smart meters ‘a waste of money’, MPs told.

  1. and an invasion pf privacy..

    …oh and no votes in it either most probably (that’ll be a clincher then)

  2. “half of them would never be used”,as I have written before,more chance of me winning the lottery than sticking my head in the meter cupboard to watch a meter.
    It will not happen because I am not having one anyway.

  3. I had a discussion with a representative of a water company recently which changed my attitude a little towards smart metering. The revelation was the idea that water meters don’t last very long because of (compared to elec/gas) damage to them by the water they meter. Our meters will be updated in the next 10-20 years whether we like the new-fangled ones or not.

    I retain strong reservations over the donation of intimate details regarding water consumption but can see the water suppliers’ requirement to spot leaks early is highly dependent on the quality of water-in / water-out data. In some ways I can’t help feeling the issue is confused because for many of us the water meter is *in our homes*. It feels wrong to me that there is a device in our homes which is ‘phoning home’ to report information about us.

    Would we feel so strongly about this issue if the water company’s meter was outside our homes? It seems obvious to me – though perhaps it’s ignorance on my part – that the problems of receiving / exchanging data with the meter could be solved by the water companies installing a wired data network alongside their pipework. That data network could remain private, terminating at the meter, or could be a badly-needed competitor to BT.

    Why wouldn’t this work? Would it be enough to allay fears about ‘spy meters’ and yet more EM radiation?

    • A wired alternative would be far better, but may not address some of other major risks – for example, minimum temperature ratings presently are to minus 10C (yet we reached minus 20C a few years ago) and the specification of Smart Meters to ‘fail-to-off’. Remote disconnects through hacking is also a problem not presently represented by non-networked analogue meters. Put these meters onto the web and they become targets.

      There are numerous ways to address water metering issues; some of perfectly reasonable, others not so. In case you haven’t seen it, the following research by Dr Andrew Goldsworthy in relation to water and Smart Meter EMFs is must-read:

      In relation to Smart Metering and EMR, Dr Goldsworthy’s research suggests that the location is almost besides the point – it’s whether you are microwaving the water that is the problem. There are experiments out there showing the effects of microwaved water on seedlings and plants. They don’t cope well with it.

  4. You Might have heard the MP’s have halted smartmeter implementaion for now, David Icke posted a vid on this (

    With respect this is a sham, not the guy’s who gave the presentation but the dirty MP’s response. It has not been stopped, thousands of warrants are being applied for by energy companies and rubber stamped each week in courts in the UK for forcible entry and installation of pre-payment ho! ho! ho! smart meters.


    All the uk energy companies have been deliberately undercharging for a period of time using estimates and then hitting the unaware consumer with a large bill they cannot pay. They then aggressively pursue a warrant of entry to install the pre-payment/Smart meter. If there is debt there is no defence.

    They are close to achieving what they call ‘foundation’ that is, enough installed meters to turn on the smart grid.

    The poor are being targeted to have these installed by state sponsored force. The debt help sites are groaning with these people.

    These meters are modular, the really nasty technologies will be added later in waves, the WAN (Wide Area Network) module that connects to datacomsco the state owned company that hides behind the energy companies that give the consumer the facade of choice, the HAN (Home Area Network) module that will spy on the occupant AND THEIR NEIGHBOURS.

    People are still barely talking about what will come with this evil meter, the telemedicine (look it up) the infrared scanner, water meter added, your bank account eventually on it, auto charges/ taxes applied to it by councils and government, punishment for non-payment by energy subsistance (only essential appliances will be allowed to function determined by datcommsco), Plugs supplied to allow older appliances in your home to be added to the smart grid with video and audio monitoring in-built.

    A psychpaths wet dream, they will know who is in your home, what food they take out of the fridge, when they go to the toilet, when they have sex, how long they shower, all of it, and this is the REAL reason for carbon credits, the smart grid will audit the minutia of your lives and bill you for it.

    It’s not a smart grid, its a slave grid and has nothing to do with saving energy.

    Dont believe me? It’s all in the OFGEM smart grid implementation docs and the Rowntree foundation papers but it’ll take about three days to read them!!

    Cant understand why almost no one is talking about this aspect of it, the Deadly health issue is just the beginning…………better get up to speed folks.