The Energy Retail Association, which represents the six major domestic energy suppliers in Great Britain has applauded the Government’s announcement to mandate smart meters for gas and electricity in every home and called it a “momentous decision for households across Britain”.

Making the announcement during the Report Stage of the Energy Bill, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, said:

“I am pleased to announce that the Government have taken the decision to mandate smart meters for all households. This is a major step forward; no other country in the world has moved to an electricity and gas smart meter roll-out on this scale. The existing powers in the Energy Bill will enable the Government to proceed with a domestic roll-out.”

After years of campaigning Ministers have accepted the industry’s view that smart meters are essential to achieve a low carbon economy and manage our energy supplies in the future. Britain is the first country in the world to mandate smart meters for gas and electricity in a competitive energy market on this scale.

Smart meters, which provide two way communication to allow energy use to be calculated on a real time basis, will eliminate the need for estimated bills and manual meter readings because they can be read remotely and will include a display that can be sent to a handheld device, digital television, mobile phone, PDA or personal computer according to what suits each customer.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates that 153 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted from UK households each year* and recent trials suggest that around three per cent could be saved if smart energy meters and displays were fitted in homes.

Garry Felgate, chief executive of the Energy Retail Association (ERA) said:

”This is a momentous decision for households across Britain. We’re delighted the government has decided to forge ahead with the roll-out of smart meters. These will revolutionise how consumers use energy across Britain and the energy industry as a whole. Ministers are to be congratulated for seeing what the future holds when it comes to the need for conserving energy both now and in the long term. It is vital that no time is wasted in implementing this decision and that the government provides the necessary Parliamentary time to debate the detailed plans.”

Smart meters are supported across the political spectrum, as well as by the energy industry, consumer bodies and industry experts.

The Prime Minister is among those to indicate his support for smart meters. In his landmark speech on climate change last November he said: “For every household – over the next decade, there will be the offer of a smart meter that will allow two way communication between the supplier and customer – giving more accurate bills and making it easier for people to generate their own energy through microgeneration and sell it onto the grid.”

The Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, also drew attention to their environmental benefits in a recent speech calling for a mass-market in microgeneration. Smart meters will help more customers who generate their own electricity to sell excess energy back to their supplier.

The campaign for a rapid decision on mandatory installation of smart meters was also supported by a motion in the Scottish Parliament and a Statement of Opinion in the Welsh Assembly.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ ldtoday/15.htm