Smart Meter Installations Lagging 

The rate of smart meter installations over the last quarter has fallen by 10% compared to the previous three months.

According to new research from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the major energy suppliers in the UK fitted 632,600 electricity and 495,400 gas smart meters over the last three months. This is compared to 707,400 electricity and 542,000 gas meters fitted over the previous quarter.

Smart meters record the amount of gas and electricity a household or business uses and send the data directly to the energy supplier. They display the amount of energy that is being used in pounds and pence or Kwh, and are designed to make bills more accurate and eliminate the need for meter readings.

The government plans for every home and small business in the UK to have a smart meter installed by the end of 2020. However, many experts are claiming that this target is becoming increasingly unlikely to be met.

According to consumer group Which?, in order to meet the government’s target of replacing the 46 million existing meters, energy suppliers would need to be installing 31 smart meters a minute. Currently, they are only installing 8.6 a minute.

A report from the National Audit Office suggests that multiple delays and technical problems with the rollout could end up adding £3 billion to the cost of the project, around a quarter of the total budget.

The government are still committed to reaching their target, and just last week Energy Minister Claire Perry insisted it would be met. “We’ve said everyone will be offered smart meters by the end of 2020 to reap these benefits and we will meet that commitment,” said Perry.

According to figures from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, only 12.8 million smart meters have already been installed in homes and business across the country, falling well short of the target.

Some industry experts have claimed that the slowdown in installations is due to people refusing to have them in their homes. Since the introduction of smart meters, there have been fears that people would be trapped on overpriced energy tariffs, unable to switch providers while keeping their smart meter’s functionality. Industry watchdogs have claimed the scheme could end up costing each household £100 more than expected.

Smart Energy UK, who are promoting the technology, have defended the rollout and insisted that all will be done to meet the government targets. A spokesperson for the company said they “are working hard to offer all households smart meters as soon as possible”.

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