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Energy smart meter roll-out unveiled

Which? victory as energy monitors included in plan

The government has today outlined plans to install smart meters in every household in the UK between 2012 and 2020.

Under the plans, energy suppliers will be responsible for installing in customers’ homes. And along with the meters, homes will also be supplied with a separate that displays real-time information on the household’s energy use and carbon emissions – something Which? has been campaigning for.

Which? editor Martyn Hocking said: ‘We’re relieved that display units will be part of the smart meter roll-out as they will provide the information people need to help them manage their energy consumption and cut costs.’

Smart meter roll-out

are electronic versions of the current gas and electricity meters, and they allow suppliers to record remotely how much electricity and gas householders use – doing away with estimated bills and visits from the meter reader.

While it’s hoped that smart meters will help to encourage individuals to cut the amount of energy they use – in some early smart meter trials, 44% of homes believed a smart meter and energy monitor had saved them energy – the energy industry is set to make substantial long-term savings from the move.

Smart meter costs

With energy suppliers bearing the cost for the roll-out and installation of smart meters, there are concerns that the bill will be passed down to customers in the form of higher energy bills. 

Mr Hocking said: ‘We’re concerned that consumers could be saddled with the entire multi-billion pound bill for a project that’s going to save the industry hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

‘While 2020 is still a long way off, there are some simple measures the industry can take to help consumers now. If bills were easier to understand, tariffs were easier to compare and customers were told of price rises in advance, people would have more control of their energy use.’

Monitor your energy use

If you want to keep a close eye on how much energy you use now, take a look at our energy monitor reviews, where we’ve tested some real-time electricity monitors.

Which? Switch can help customers find the best deal and take the hassle out of changing energy supplier. The free and independent service from Which? compares hundreds of gas and electricity prices and energy tariffs. Those switching with Which? Switch between 1 January and 21 October 2009 saved an annual average of £263.

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