Smart meters for U.K. households within 10 years


Alistair Darling,
Trade & Industry
United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom — (METERING.COM) — May 23, 2007 –New requirements for meters with real-time displays and the provision of smart meters to all households within 10 years are among the proposals in the U.K.’s energy White Paper released today.

As one of the key measures for energy saving in households, the government proposes 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.

In the meantime, in order to make the displays more rapidly available it is proposed that from May 2008 every household having an electricity meter replaced and every newly built domestic property will be given a real-time electricity display. In addition in the period 2008 to 2010, real time displays will be available free of charge to any household that requests one.

At the same time, in order to encourage further reduction in consumption, the government proposes that also there should be changes to bills, with the provision of additional, historic information, preferably in graphical form, comparing energy usage in one quarter with the same period in the previous year. Together these proposals for real-time displays and billing are expected to deliver annual savings of up to 0.4 MtC by 2010 and 0.5 MtC by 2020.

In the business sector currently advanced meters, which provide readings on either an automatic half-hourly basis for electricity or on a daily basis for gas, are already mandatory for large users of energy. It is proposed, subject to consultation, that advanced and smart metering services should be extended to all but the smallest business users in Great Britain and those larger businesses not already subject to half-hourly metering within the next five years. This could achieve annual savings of 0.1–0.2 MtC per year by 2020.

In presenting the White Paper, trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling said that two big challenges are faced – climate change and maintaining stable and affordable energy supply in an increasingly unstable world. “The Energy White Paper sets out a long term framework for action to address these challenges at home and abroad.”

The White Paper states that in order to deliver energy security and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy, actions are required to save energy, develop cleaner energy supplies and secure reliable energy supplies at prices set in competitive markets. In addition to encouraging energy saving through better information, incentives and regulation, other key elements of the strategy include establishing an international framework to tackle climate change, providing legally binding carbon targets for the whole UK economy progressively reducing emissions, making further progress in achieving fully competitive and transparent international markets, providing more support for low carbon technologies, and ensuring the right conditions for investment.