Foundation stage: what the government is doing
The government is focused on making sure all the groundwork is in place. Suppliers, systems and networks are being built and tested. They are working with the energy industry, consumer groups and others to:
- set the regulatory and commercial framework
- get the necessary organisations up and running
- plan the infrastructure we need to start the main installation phase
Foundation stage: what the energy suppliers will do
The gas and electricity suppliers are currently:
- training installers to meet the standards set by Ofgem
- making sure their internal systems can handle smart meter data
- running trials and test installations, to make sure their customers get the best experience after installation
Some suppliers are already installing early-generation smart meters.
Installation stage: 2016-2020
All the energy suppliers have different plans for installing smart meters but they will need to meet the government's overall timescale and targets. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the regulator, Ofgem, will oversee their implementation and monitor their progress.
Projections for the installation stage
The government expects that smart meter installations will:
- rise sharply in 2016, when all the final common standards come into force
- result in 20 million meters being fitted between 2016 and 2018
- peak in 2019 and finish in 2020
Technological factors mean that different housing types and locations will be fitted at different times.
What are the benefits for me?
There are plenty of gadgets that can help control energy use, but smart meters have two unique features:
- they show exactly how much energy you’re using and what it’s costing, in near-real time
- they send accurate meter readings to your energy supplier, so no more estimated bills or manual meter readings
With your smart meter, you’ll always be able to keep track of exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using in near real time, and what it costs in pounds and pence. This means you can be confident that you're only paying for what you have actually used and you'll always know what to expect in your next bill, so no more nasty surprises.