The gradual roll out of smart meters across the UK has been delayed by four years, following delays in connectivity and other issues with the meters that are already in use.
Energy companies have been offering installation of smart gas and electricity meters to businesses and homes across the UK in order to reach the Government’s 2020 target. Smart meters send automatic meter readings straight to the supplier which can eliminate the need to give meter reads and estimated billing. They are also free to install and energy suppliers have been offering them to all of their customer, however, they are not mandatory.
Originally, the plan was to install smart meters to 53 million homes and businesses by the end of next year, however, the Government has revealed that it expects only half of households to have a smart meter by that time.
The speed at which smart meters are being installed has slowed recently due to problems beginning to arise. The biggest setback has been with the first generation of smart meters, they become ‘dumb’ and stop working when a consumer switches supplier. This means they stop sending energy usage data to the suppliers, so meter readings will need to be sent manually to ensure accurate billing.
This year new smart meters began being introduced across the country; these have the technology to continue functioning after switching supplier. Government-backed company DCC, are in the process of installing this technology on first generation meters allowing them to work in the same way.
The deadline has been delayed to give energy suppliers the time they need to fix the technical problems and to install all smart meters by 2024.