Not Very Smart Meters

The National Audit Office has just produced a sobering report on smart meters, devices to measure the electricity and gas consumption of devices in the home (‘Rolling out Smart Meters’). Needless to say, adoption is years behind schedule, costs are soaring, benefits sinking and enthusiasm waning. Everyone was supposed to have a smart meter by the end of 2020: to date, 39 million meters remain to be replaced.

What has gone wrong? Well, the second generation of smart meters took years longer than expected to produce. This meant that the industry pushed consumers to install Mark 1. This works with only the company who installed it; already nearly a million households have dumb meters because they switched supplier.

As for household saving, it seems that much of this is to come from greater competitiveness when fuel suppliers know more about the consumption of customers. They will then pass on their savings to customers. Of course they will.

Further savings will come from closing call centers as smart meters tell customers all they need to know. Little surprise, then, that the NAO finds the public unenthusiastic about smart meters.

BBC comment at: