Public to ‘get smarter’ on energy meters

By staff

All homes will have a smart meter installed by 2020 to help improve energy efficiency, the government has announced.

A consultation on the introduction of the meters, which will allow consumers to see how much energy they are using and help save them money, has been launched today.

Several million businesses and 26 million homes are expected to be affected by the project.

Estimated bills will be consigned to history, easier prepayment and easier switching between suppliers are being flagged by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) as advantages of the transition.

It claims over a 20-year period the installation of smart meters could result in a net benefit of up to £3.6 billion.

“This is another part of our Great British refurb,” energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said.

“The meters most of us have in our homes were designed for a different age, before climate change. Now we need to get smarter with our energy.”

The government hopes to woo suppliers by offering them additional tariffs and services, such as ‘time-of-use’ tariffs.

It hopes they will accept responsibility for the installation and maintenance of the meters, with a third party responsible for the communication to and from the device.

Alternatives up for discussion include the competitive model, where energy suppliers manage all aspects of smart metering, and the fully centralised model, in which regional franchises manage their installation and operation with communications managed centrally.

The consultation will close on July 24th.