Homes that install smart meters are expected to make an annual saving of £11 per year, less than originally hoped. A parliamentary group report now predicts a fuel saving of £26.
92 MP’s said, in a critical report, that the government is likely to miss its own deadline to achieve a £11bn completed switchover.
The target is to have up to 53 million meters installed in 30 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020.
A smart meter is made to replace the more tradition gas and electricity meters. It automatically transmits data of energy usage via mobile phone network and displays energy usage to users and its cost. The government says that smart meters are already benefiting millions of homes and business across the country.
Grant Shapps, the chair of the British Ingrastructure Group of Parliamentarians (BIG) commented that the programme has been “plagued by repeated delays and cost increases, with suppliers now almost certain to miss the 2020 deadline, and programme benefits likely to be slashed even further”, and that “first generation” smart meters don’t always work, causing a “mess”.
"We need to shift to a reliable timetable, we need to quit installing obsolete old meters... and we need to have the regulator become a lot tougher."
Smart Energy GB – the promoters of the smart meters – said, "All smart meters mean an end to estimated billing and give people a greater understanding of their energy use.
"Smart meters are also making prepay cheaper and more convenient, bringing the way we pay for our energy up-to-date, enabling customers to top up online or over the phone."
By paying a levy on energy bills customers have financed the smart meter programme, while suppliers have blamed the levy for rising costs.
The report says, however, that savings would eventually be made by energy firms and not consumers. Shapps says "The roll-out is consequently at serious risk of becoming yet another large scale public infrastructure project delivered well over time and budget, and which fails to provide energy customers with a meaningful return on their investment,"
Furthermore, more than half smart meters ‘go dumb’ after the switch due to poor mobile signal.