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Smart meter rollout must go ahead, say Energy UK

Eleanor Newis
Feb 5, 2019



Energy UK’s director of regulation, Audrey Gallagher, has told MPs that the energy industry must avoid any delay to the smart meter rollout programme when installation of the SMETS1 devices ends in mid-March.

Gallagher wrote an open letter to Rachel Reeves, the chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee.

In this letter, she writes that the industry body’s ‘immediate priority’ in terms of the smart meter programme is to avoid any delay that might result from installing the less sophisticated meters on March 15th.

The letter is referring to the National Audit Office’s recent report on the rollout of the smart meter programme.

This showed that there could be a delay to the smart meter rollout because of a shortage of SMETS2 meters available for installation in certain geographical locations in the UK. This could result in engineers being stood down and customers missing out on their meter.

Gallagher goes on to say that the continued use of smart meters is ‘essential’ and suppliers are taking all 'reasonable steps; to install a smart meter in every home and business, not simply offer one'.

The director of regulation expresses agreement with the committee that it is ‘unacceptable’ that 30% of customers don’t remember getting advice on energy efficiency when they’re smart meter is installed.

Gallagher says: ‘It is clear that not all performing at the levels they should be to ensure consumers obtain the full benefits of the smart rollout.’

Energy UK is leading the way by doing work with its members to improve efficiency and rollout practices around smart meters.

Out of the consumers who have had their smart meters installed by big six company SSE, 89% recalled being offered advice about energy efficiency. EDF has been said to increase its recall rates on energy efficiency advice to 83%. Both suppliers are apparently trying to further improve their provision of energy efficient advice.

There have been many criticisms of the smart meter rollout since it was announced, combined with delays and teething problems that have seen the policy fraught with issues.

One of the criticisms is that customers who have smart meters installed in their homes won’t actually benefit from savings. Another criticism is that smart meters often stop working when people change supplier, and so they just function as usual meters. This makes it more stressful for people to switch supplier.

Rather than going ahead with getting a smart meter, you might be better off simply looking for another energy supplier and finding the right deal for you. You can use a price comparison site like A Spokesman Said to find the right energy deal for you, and save yourself more money than waiting for a smart meter.

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