Deployment of smart meters in the U.K. could be delayed


Duncan Sedgwick,
Chief Executive,
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — January 7, 2008 – The U.K. government has called on electricity suppliers to provide their customers with free real-time display units from May 2008, but the Energy Retail Association (ERA) is of the opinion that this could delay the deployment of smart meters.

The U.K.’s Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) says that the display units will help customers reduce energy use, because they are able to see how much individual household appliances cost to run in real time. It holds that the devices will also enable users to reduce their carbon footprint.

However, the ERA believes that if a case can be made for universal smart metering, this should be the preferred solution. It points out that when smart metering is installed, it will deliver an accurate display of both gas and electricity information, which means that the carbon benefits of smart metering exceed the benefits provided by the display units. In addition it says that any rollout of display units will have a negative impact on customer perception of smart meters, as the units will be perceived as the ‘real thing’. Display devices, it says, are a costly distraction to smart metering.

The ERA represents electricity and gas suppliers in the domestic market in Great Britain. All the main energy suppliers operating in the residential market are members of the association – British Gas, EDF Energy, npower, Powergen, Scottish Power, and Scottish and Southern Energy.