The mass roll-out of 53 million smart meters to 30 million UK homes and businesses will start in April 2014 and be complete by 2019, the energy and climate department (DECC) says in its implementation strategy published today.
DECC hopes smart meters will help consumers and energy companies save money and reduce carbon emissions (ENDS Report, January 2011).
Smart meters will replace existing ‘dumb’ gas and electricity meters. The new computerised devices encourage customers to use energy more efficiently by displaying real-time energy consumption data in pounds and pence.
Suppliers will automatically receive accurate household energy data from smart meters, allowing them to cut the cost of manual meter readings. Smart meters will enable energy networks to fully utilise renewable energy sources.
DECC says the roll-out will take place in two phases. During the foundation phase, to begin immediately, the government and energy suppliers will have to put in place the technical and commercial arrangements for smart meters including establishing a data and communications company to manage the network.
In the second phase, mass roll-out of smart meters will begin. DECC says it is to place a legal requirement on energy suppliers to complete the roll-out in 2019.
Energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne said: “Smart meters are a key part of giving us all more control over how we use energy at home and at work, helping us to cut out waste and save money.
“In combination with our plans to reform the electricity market and introduce the Green Deal for home and businesses, the roll out of smart meters will help us keep the lights on while reducing emissions and getting the best possible deal for the consumer.”