‘Smart meters will enable us to modernise the electricity system over the coming years and create the smart grids we will need to bring new low-carbon energy sources online and handle much higher demand for electricity as we progressively electrify transport and heating,’ said energy minister Charles Hendry.
According to the DECC, the roll-out of smart meters will take place in two phases. During the foundation stage, beginning now, the government will work with industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders to ensure all the necessary groundwork is done for the second stage — the mass roll-out.
The government expects the mass roll-out to start in early 2014 and be complete by 2019.
Smart meters are expected to give consumers real-time information on their energy consumption; give suppliers accurate data for billing; and provide energy networks with better information with which to manage and plan current activities, as well as the move towards smart grids to support sustainable energy supplies.
The DECC estimates the roll-out of smart meters to have a net benefit to the nation of £7.3bn over the next 20 years.
Welcoming today’s announcement, Graham Bartlett, managing director of E.ON’s Energy Solutions business, said: ‘This is an important step towards the national roll-out of smart meters, giving us some of the vital detail that will enable us to deploy this game-changing technology responsibly to our customers.
‘We’ve been consistent in our support of the programme and in recognising the benefits that smart meters will bring to our customers, but we have always been concerned that, without an industry standard, there was a real risk that it would be customers who were hit hardest as early adopters were left with outdated technology — the equivalent of having a Walkman when everyone else has an iPhone. Today’s announcement provides us with the clarity we need to proceed and to make sure that doesn’t happen.’