This Bill extends the period that the Government has to oversee, and amend, the roll-out of smart energy meters to UK homes. The Bill also makes provision that should the Data and Communications Company (the body that has the licence to operate the national smart metering system) become insolvent, the service continues.
The Government is committed to all households and businesses in Great Britain being offered a smart meter by the end of 2020, helping give people control over their energy bills. Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters which bring an end to estimated bills and help people to save energy and money. The Government says that the smart meter rollout is expected to deliver £5.7 billion in net benefits, with £300 million taken off consumer energy bills by 2020 alone.
The Government says it is still working to the 2020 deadline for smart meter roll-out but this Bill would extend by five years (from 2018 until 2023) the powers the Secretary of State has to develop, amend and oversee regulations relating to smart metering. This will ensure Government can continue to oversee completion of the rollout by the end of 2020.
This Bill was introduced by Greg Clark MP, from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Although the Government has said that this Bill is not about extending the 2020 deadline, many energy operators would like more time to provide smart meters for all their customers. The smart meter system has its critics, and the Institute of Directors has said:
The programme has already failed to deliver interoperable meters for switching, is behind schedule, is over-budget and wedded to out of date technology. Not only that, the legal obligation on suppliers to install potentially incompatible meters by the deadline of December 2020 or else pay large fines is already pushing up inflationary costs in wages and advertising.
How to get involved
You can contact your MP or Greg Clark MP
If I don’t act, will it go through?
This is a Government Bill so it will probably go through