The date for the national roll-out of smart meters has been pushed back to autumn 2015, the government announced today.
Originally the roll-out was scheduled to start in 2014 and finish in 2019. The government now expects suppliers to be ready to start full scale roll-out by autumn 2015, and has pushed the completion date to the end of 2020.
However, the vast majority of meters are expected to be in place by the original 2019 deadline.
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Smart meter roll out needs time
In response to the Department of Energy and Climate Change statement on smart meters, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘The government is right to take its time to ensure the installation of smart meters in every home is a success but it should use this delay to trial regional roll-outs, similar to the digital TV switchover.
‘With energy prices one of the top financial concerns for consumers, the government must also make sure the £11 billion cost doesn’t spiral out of control.’
Smart meters to stay where installed
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, gave details of plans to encourage energy suppliers to offer smart meters as soon as possible.
From the end of this year energy companies won’t be able to replace a smart meter with an old-fashioned ‘dumb meter’ when you change supplier.
Another possibility is that when you switch supplier, your new supplier will be required to continue providing remote meter readings if you have a compliant smart meter.
The government hopes that smart meters will help people become more aware of how much energy they’re using and take steps to reduce their energy usage.