'Real time' displays for household metersUnits will show energy cost and consumption

24 May 2007

Household meters will have 'real time' displays to show how much electricity has been used, according to the government's Energy White Paper.

The meters - due to be brought in from May next year - will show cost alongside energy consumption.

Energy suppliers should offer free real-time displays for electricity meters from next year to March 2010, the paper says.

In addition, the government wants 'smart meters' to be rolled out within a decade.

These meters would help householders check at a glance how much they were spending on energy.

At a glance

'The provision of real-time displays with smart meters has the potential to transform how households manage their energy use,' the paper says.

'Our objective is to see households have access to this new technology as soon as possible to enable them to control their emissions.'

But Duncan Sedgwick, chief executive of the Energy Retail Association which represents the major suppliers, said the meter display devices were a 'gimmick measure' which didn't work for gas meters and provided only 'time-delayed' information.

'There is also a very real concern over the dangers if they are installed incorrectly and we want to make it clear that the industry will not be liable for this decision,' he said.

Intelligent meters

Mr Sedgewick said the Government had missed a 'golden opportunity to fully promote the roll-out of interactive smart meters which would have revolutionised the use of energy in homes across the country'.

He added: 'Energy suppliers fully support the implementation of intelligent smart meters as they would provide accurate information, to the customer and supplier, on the energy being used.

'We have been pushing for this for some time as they will allow us to move on from estimated bills, replace token meters and bring about the end of meter readings.'

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