Energy suppliers need to triple the amount of smart meters they are currently installing in order to meet a 2020 deadline, according to new research.
The government plans for every household and small business in the UK to be offered a smart meter upgrade by 2020. However, suppliers have so far only installed 11 million smart meters. This is less than a quarter of the 46 million meters in the country that still needed replacing.
Smart meters measure gas and electricity usage and send the data to energy suppliers, and show consumers how much they are using in pounds and pence in real time. The government argue that the nationwide rollout will end the need for traditional meter readings, and will ensure customers are billed accurately.
Which? have said that the suppliers need to be installing 30 meters a minute every day for the next two years if they want to meet the deadline. They are currently installing 9.7 meters a minute, according to the consumer group’s analysis.
Energy suppliers had been warned of problems as early as July. A report by the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) showed that annual savings on energy bills after the introduction of smart meters will be £11. This is less than half of the £26 previously claimed by proponents of the rollout. BIG questioned “whether the programme will even deliver meaningful returns for consumers at all.”
The government is still committed to it’s 2020 target. A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The government is committed to all households and small businesses in Great Britain being offered smart meters by the end of 2020. Suppliers are ramping up their operations over the next 12 months as they recruit and train even more installers.”
Major suppliers British Gas and E.On have installed 6 million and 1.4 millions smart meters respectively, while a spokesperson for EDF Energy said: “We are on course to achieve our targets for 2018.”
“Britain’s smart meter rollout is a vital upgrade for the nation’s energy infrastructure,” said Robert Cheesewright, director of corporate affairs at Smart Energy GB. “Smart meters are crucial if we want to tackle climate change and reduce our carbon footprint. In line with the government’s figures, smart meters will help people save on average almost £50 a year on their energy bills by 2030. Energy suppliers are working hard to offer all households smart meters as soon as possible.”