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Smart Energy GB response to Institute of Directors' report on smart meters

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB said:

“The Institute of Directors wants to reverse the modernisation of Britain’s energy system and take us back to an analogue dark age. 

"It is extraordinary that the IoD wants only one in five of the country to use modern technology to buy their gas and electricity, and that they think that this one in five should only be those who are rich and live in large houses. They are happy for the rest of the country to be left behind. 

“The IoD does not understand what’s needed to secure Britain’s energy infrastructure for the future. They are suggesting that the future of our energy supply should rely on an amateur solution, with old and new technology muddled up and people texting in photos of old meters to fill in the gaps.

“The smart meter roll-out must be for everybody.  It will only deliver the national transformation Britain needs if every home is part of this national upgrade.”

In addition, Mervyn Kohler, special adviser Age UK said:

“To stall, or amend, the programme to roll out smart meters now (as the IoD report is proposing) would be really misguided. At every stage, the programme has been subject to extensive consultation, and all the consumer research suggests that users are very positive about smart meters.

"In particular, the older population (which comprises about a third of households in the country), value the sense of being in control of their energy use which smart meters can provide. Their serious worry is inaccurate bills and an anxiety about unexpected costs. Smart meters will allay those fears.

"This is an opportunity to help people understand energy usage better, and to adjust their behaviour to use it more intelligently. This is really important as global energy prices seem inevitably set to rise, and climate change issues grow in significance. Older people want the opportunity to respond to these issues positively.”


Notes to editors:

Smart Energy GB response to the Institute of Director’s recommendations:

1. Stop gas meter deployment

The IoD is wrong to propose that gas should be excluded from the national upgrade to smart meters. In Great Britain, we spend more money on gas than electricity. Consumers must be able to exercise control over both gas and electricity.

2. Remove the requirement for an in home display

The IoD is wrong to propose that only people with internet access or a smart phone should be able to use a smart meter. Citizens Advice and Age UK are just two of the charities who agree it is vital that a clear and simple smart meter display should be offered to every consumer. Smart meter displays are critical for the 13 million people in Great Britain who have not used the internet in the last three months, and the two in five who do not have a smartphone.

3. Limit the roll-out to big houses

The IoD is wrong to propose that it is only people in big houses who should benefit from smart meters.  There are millions of people in smaller homes, with varying levels of energy consumption, who need smart meters in order to be able to take control of their energy.

The IoD is also wrong not to realise that Great Britain will only be able to develop a smart grid, and so create a long-term sustainable energy system, if every home has a smart meter.

4. Abandon attempts to stretch roll-out to flats and tower blocks

The IoD is wrong to suggest that people who live in flats should be denied smart meters.  One in five of the British population live in flats, including more than half of the population of London. People living in flats should not miss out on this essential upgrade in their homes.

5. Make the programme voluntary

The IoD has failed to understand that choosing to have a smart meter is already voluntary.  The IoD has also not recognised that smart meters are paid for in exactly the same way as old meters, which is that the cost of infrastructure is shared fairly between all consumers.  

6. Abandon the programme and develop a smartphone app

We are genuinely baffled by this proposal.  Smart phone apps cannot work without data – and energy data can only be collected by a smart meter.  The IoD seems to be proposing an alternative national roll-out of webcams pointed at meters, which simply would not work.

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the not-for-profit campaign for the national smart meter roll-out.  It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national roll-out and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign has already begun and will reach all households and micro-businesses in England, Scotland and Wales.

About smart meters and the roll-out

Smart meters will replace the analogue meters we currently have in our homes. They will provide consumers with accurate bills, near real time information on energy usage in pounds and pence, and greater control over their gas and electricity. The smart meter roll-out is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure. Between now and 2020, every home and small business across England, Scotland and Wales will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier at no extra cost. Nearly 1.4 million smart meters have already been installed. Find out how you can get a smart meter from your energy supplier please.

Smart Energy GB media contacts

For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

 Smart Energy GB:

Alicia Painter: [email protected]; 0203 751 0745

Naomi Adams: [email protected]; 0203 751 0747