In the UK, MPs have said the mandated nationwide smart meter rollout could be a “costly failure” as the project is in “danger of veering off-track” due to delays in the deployment schedule.
The latest report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee, the body of MPs tasked with overseeing the rollout, was released late last week and deals a blow to public confidence in the advanced metering program.
Tim Yeo, chair of the committee said the government is at a “crossroads” on its smart meter policy.
Mr Yeo said: “[The government] can continue with its current approach and risk embarrassment through public disengagement on a flagship energy policy, or it can grip the reins, and steer the energy industry along a more successful path which brings huge benefits for the country.”
Meter connectivity and interoperability
The reports raises concerns about technical, logistical and public communication issues, which have resulted in delays to a national roll-out programme.
The Committee said it is disappointed that the Government has failed to resolve: technical communication problems with multiple occupancy and tall buildings “which should have been resolved by now”; interoperability problems between different suppliers and different meters; a slow start to full engagement with the public on meter installation, a lack of transparency by publishing the Major Project Authority’s assessments on the smart meter programme, and delay by the Government-appointed Data Communications Company (DCC).
Last week Ed Davey, the secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change, approved a four-month extension to the DCC’s deadline to begin collecting and processing smart meter data with the option of an additional two-month reprieve in order to “deliver to a plan in which all parties have confidence”.
UK will miss 2020 deadline
The Energy and Climate Change Committee report – Smart meters: Progress or Delay? – concludes that a “we do not believe that a near universal smart meter roll-out will be achieved by 2020”.
The roll-out of smart meters in the UK is due to take place between 2015 and 2020 with an estimated 53 million devices to be installed by energy suppliers in 30 million homes and businesses.
DECC estimates that the roll-out of smart meters will cost around GBP10.9 billion and these costs will be passed onto consumers.