Science and Technology Committee Says Government ‘Must be Clearer’ on Smart Meters

The Science and Technology Committee says that the government is “not being clear” on the benefits of smart meters.

The Committee said that there are “too many objectives” for the rollout, which could hinder its implementation.

The report stated that the government should be clearer about the main purpose of smart metering and use this to drive evaluation of the project.

It added: “Smart meters need to be clearly understood by the consumer and provide information in a format that the customer finds helpful. In order for consumers to benefit directly from smart metering there will need to be appropriate investment in customer engagement, given that this is being introduced in an era of low public trust in utility providers.”

The government has listed 11 different objectives for the scheme, including saving money for customers’ energy bills, despite the amount of money saved by individual consumers set to be small.

The report says that the major benefits will be in paving the way for a smarter energy system where to enhance energy security and reduce pollution.

However, the report supports the use of in-home displays are part of the rollout as they provide a “necessary feedback mechanism” on energy consumption, despite some stakeholders criticising this.

They also discussed smart meter security and members met with the government’s security experts from GCHQ which have the Committee “confidence that security is being taken seriously.”

Tania Mathias, Interim Chair of the Committee, commented: “It would be easy to dismiss the smart meter project as an inefficient way of saving a small amount of money on energy bills, but the evidence suggests there are major national benefits, including establishing a smarter, more energy secure grid.

“The smart meter mass rollout has been delayed, but the government and suppliers must not skimp on engaging with customers in the rush to fit 50 million more meters by 2020. The evidence shows that homeowners and businesses need to receive tailored advice about how they can benefit from smart metering.”


Latest Issue

BDC 305 Jun 2023