Government u-turn on real-time energy displays

The government has abandoned plans to require energy suppliers to provide free real-time energy displays to their customers

In a response to its consultation on energy billing and metering, the Business Department (BERR) revealed on Tuesday that it will no longer require energy suppliers to install free real-time displays when replacing a meter. Nor will they have to provide them to customers requesting them.

The requirement, due to come into force this year, was promised in last year’s energy white paper and was one of the Labour Party’s five environment electoral pledges. It was expected to save consumers around £500 million a year and cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 1.8 million tonnes a year by 2020.

BERR said that “the majority of respondents [to the consultation] were for a variety of reasons against the proposals to require the provision of real-time displays.” Instead it will now “request electricity suppliers to provide on a voluntary basis real-time display devices to particular customer segments.”

One of the main arguments against real-time displays is that there will soon be a widespread roll out of smart meters which perform the same function with the additional benefit that energy suppliers can access the readings remotely.

BERR has stuck with plans to require suppliers to install smart meters to larger business customers by 2013, but it has backed off from setting a date for the wider roll-out of meters to smaller businesses and domestic customers.

Proposals to require historical consumption data to be included on energy bills have also been retained.

The billing Regulations have since been published.

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