Mixed reaction to U.K. smart meter proposals

Duncan Sedgwick,
Chief Executive,
Energy Retail Association
London, United Kingdom — (METERING.COM) — May 24, 2007 –There has been a mixed reaction to the U.K. government’s proposals regarding smart meters in the Energy White Paper released earlier this week.

Gas and electricity watchdog energywatch said that by recognizing the need to introduce smart metering, the government has recognized some of the key drivers that it has argued are needed to put energy consumers front stage.

However, the organization added there was a worrying lack of precision and clarity in the White Paper about how the government plans to remove three million households from fuel poverty by its target date of 2010, and the organization repeated earlier calls for the introduction of social tariffs.

In its response the Energy Retail Association (ERA), Britain’s domestic electricity and gas supplier body, said it welcomed the government’s recognition of the need to encourage people to be more energy-aware, and was pleased to see that government and industry share the view that “within the next 10 years all domestic energy customers will have smart meters”.
However, the Association said it was disappointed that the government did not use “this golden opportunity” to fully promote the roll-out of interactive smart meters, which would have revolutionised the use of energy in homes across the country. “Energy suppliers fully support the implementation of intelligent smart meters as they can provide accurate information, to the customer and supplier, on the energy being used,” said the ERA. “Instead, the government appears be talking about electricity display devices which are a gimmick measure as they do not address the real challenge at hand – they only work for electricity (not gas) and they give time-delayed information (rather than real time).”

The ERA also noted that there is also a very real concern over the dangers if they are installed incorrectly, commenting that the industry will not be liable for this decision.

The White Paper proposed that within the next 10 years all domestic energy customers will be supplied with smart meters with visual displays of real-time information that allow communication between the meter, the energy supplier and the customer.