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Not smart on smart meters

Why is it that when it comes to IT we seem to get things so badly wrong? Whether it is in the border agency or in the NHS we seem unable to get things to work or to roll out as planned.  Now we have a problem it seems with rolling out smart meters to save energy, one of the key planks of government strategy on tackling carbon emissions and climate change.  Now a parliamentary committee has warned that plans for installing these meters are in danger.

Plans to install the energy saving smart meters in every UK home and business by 2020 are in danger of veering off-track and could prove to be a costly failure because the project has not been driven forward effectively, the Energy and Climate Change Committee of the House of Commons has warned. In a new report the MPs raise concerns about technical, logistical and public communication issues which have resulted in delays to a national roll-out programme.


Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"Time is running out on the Government’s plan to install smart meters in each of the UK’s 30 million homes and businesses by 2020. Smart meters could generate more than £17bn in energy savings for the country yet a series of technical and other issues have resulted in delays to the planned roll-out."

The Committee first looked at the programme in 2013, highlighting issues which they urged the Government to address. As the chair of the committee says, some progress has been made but it is not enough.

"The energy industry told us that it needs the Government to enable industry-wide solutions, rather than the less efficient alternative of letting each energy supplier develop its own solution.

But he also warns that without significant change from government the programme is at risk of failing.

"Without a significant and immediate change to the Government’s present approach which aims to install smart meters in 100% of UK homes and businesses, the programme runs the risk of falling far short of expectations. At worst, it could prove to be a costly failure. So, the Government is at a crossroads on its smart meters policy. It 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."

Why, oh why is it so difficult?

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