Time to stop and review the smart meter roll-outWhich? says DECC should stop and think

15 January 2012

Smart meter stopwatch

Which? says the government must review the smart meter roll-out to make sure that consumers aren't writing a 'blank cheque' for the programme.

Which? believes that the roll-out is flawed as it has the potential to further undermine consumer confidence as well as cost consumers millions more than the initial estimate.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: 'The government must not write a blank cheque on behalf of every energy customer, especially at a time when millions of people are struggling to pay their bills.'

Potential £11 billion fiasco

He added: 'The Energy Department should stop and review the smart meter roll-out before it becomes an £11 billion fiasco.'

The report on the smart meter roll-out, was commissioned by Which? after a number of consumers raised concerns on Which? Conversation.

The report, carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, has highlighted some serious issues with the lack of government control of the multi-billion pound smart meter roll-out.

Smart meter roll-out costs

A key concern is that the cost of the roll-out, which is already significant, could spiral with no one keeping an eye on the money being spent by the energy industry or how it is being passed onto consumers.

At the moment, energy companies are leading on the smart meter roll-out and are expected to pass through costs to consumers via their bills. Meanwhile, the government strategy to rely on competition in the energy market to keep the cost of the roll-out under control is naive and unlikely to work.

Consumer trust in smart meters

As reflected in the discussions onWhich? Conversation, there are significant issues with consumer trust in smart meters, including concerns about the cost of the roll-out, data security and health concerns.

Issues with cross-selling of products during smart meter installation and problems with installing smart meters also lower consumer trust in the roll-out.

What Which? wants

Which? is calling for an immediate halt to the smart meter roll-out, so that the government can conduct a full review into the strategy. 

We would like the government to investigate the issues raised in this report and rectify the problems.

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