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New Smart Meter Targets Set by Government may be Impossible to Achieve for Energy Firms

The UK Government originally planned to roll out smart meters to all homes by 2020, which was later pushed back another four years to 2024. However, management at UK Energy firms have expressed their concern regarding the attainability of that goal.

 

The abandonment of the original 2020 proposal was delayed following issues regarding connectivity experienced by the current batch of smart meters. The group has also relayed their doubt about the probability of implementing the plan in every UK household.

 

Remarks from the suppliers

 

The Government has set out its smart meter rollout project in 2024 to cover 85% of homes, but industry experts warn that this goal cannot be met within the estimated timeframe. Energy UK, the trade body representing suppliers all over the country, issued a statement saying that its members are in danger of missing this target.

 

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The smart meter rollout can also incur massive fines for the trade group’s members if they fail to meet the requirements the project entails. This is why the trade body took a swipe at the updated plan announced by officials a few months earlier.

 

Energy UK has commissioned a study recently, which revealed that only 68% of domestic homes would have smart meters installed when the deadline arrives. This percentage is considerably lower than the Government’s target of 85%.

 

 

The trade body penned a letter to the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), stating that the proposed 85% target is impossible to reach by the deadline.

 

Energy UK members, who are mostly from UK energy companies, conveyed their overwhelming agreement with this assessment.

 

The Government’s plan

 

The Government has announced a 2024 deadline for suppliers like British Gas, Scottish Power, and E.ON to install smart meters in the homes they supply. They have pushed the original 2020 target back due to the issues with the current batch of smart meters being used.

 

It has also predicted that only half of the homes will have smart meters installed by 2020, with rollout costs rising from £11B in 2016 to £13.5B this year. However, the expected total savings have also increased from £16.73B to £19.56B.

 

 

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Citizens Advice, a UK consumer group, urged for the extension of the deadline and has welcomed the new decision, stating that it would protect consumer interest.

 

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said that the 2024 deadline would give time to suppliers to iron out existing technical problems and improve customer service during the implementation.

 

Citizens Advice, a UK consumer group, urged for the extension of the deadline and has welcomed the new decision, stating that it would protect consumer interest.

 

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said that the 2024 deadline would give time to suppliers to iron out existing technical problems and improve customer service during the implementation.

 

She also noted how consumers pick up the tab following the escalating cost of the rollout. She cited the cost-benefit analysis, showing that focusing on the speed at which suppliers persuade customers to fit smart meters does benefit the goal.

 

DCC, a government-backed company, is supposed to develop an infrastructure to resolve issues with older meters failing to send data in real-time to the suppliers. It’s one of the technical problems that are yet to be addressed.