The number of smart meter installations in homes fell by 2.2% between April and June compared with January to March, putting the government's smart meter roll-out further behind. There have also been delays in rolling out a fix for some first-generation (SMETS1) smart meters, which often go 'dumb' when you switch supplier.
The figure comes from today's smart meter report by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS). It's not the first time that BEIS has reported a slowdown in installations in 2019: its first-quarter report for January to March revealed that domestic installations had decreased by 6.7% compared with figures from the end of 2018.
The government has committed to offering a smart meter to every home and small business in the UK by the end of 2020, saying that these installations are 'An essential national energy infrastructure upgrade for Great Britain that will help make our energy system cheaper, more efficient and reliable.'
But the roll-out has been riddled with problems and delays, including the enrollment of first-generation smart meters onto the Data and Communications Company (DCC), meaning that some people are not experiencing the benefits promised to them when they had meters installed.
Although smart meters should help you to better monitor and manage your energy consumption, receive more accurate bills and switch supplier more easily, there is an inevitable impact on energy bills.
Completing the national roll-out is an enormous logistical and technical challenge for the energy industry, involving visits to around 30m homes and small businesses, and installing about 53m new meters.
This was predicted to have cost the average dual-fuel household £391 in total, but delays are likely to increase this. The cost to households has already risen by £17 since the government's 2016 prediction.
There are two types of smart meter: first (SMETS1) and second-generation (SMETS2). SMETS1 meters aren't all fully compatible with the DCC network and switching supplier can cause it to revert to working like a 'traditional' meter, meaning you'll have to submit meter readings again.
SMETS2 meters are designed to offer full functionality and work with the DCC network.
Work is currently being done to add some SMETS1 meters to the DCC network, which will mean they will retain smart functions when moving supplier. Energy companies were expected to start connecting meters in May 2019, but again there have been delays to this.
Here's which first-generation smart meters will be enrolled and when:
This switchover will take time and it won't be until the end of December 2020 that all meters will be upgraded.
By the end of June 2019, 1.3m SMETS2 meters had been installed; this is an increase of 4.25% compared with the first quarter of 2019.
If you want a smart meter installed or you want your 'dumb' smart meter replaced, contact your energy supplier.
If you haven't had a smart meter before, you can find out how they work in our video: