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Costs far outweigh benefits of smart meters

24 Sep 2016


In response to the Science and Technology Committee report released today, as part of inquiry to evaluate the strength of the evidence in support of the Government’s smart meters programme, Dan Lewis, Senior Adviser on Infrastructure Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“The latest Science and Technology Committee report is right to highlight transparency concerns and it is deeply worrying that they, like us, have struggled to obtain updated evidence from government on costs and benefits. Oil and gas prices have halved in the last 2 years and cheaper smart grid technologies are now available without smart meters – but the programme plods on with delays and incompatible meter deployment.

“It is a real cause for concern when the true cost of the programme is understated to consumers at £215 per household, when instead we expected it to cost £400 (£10.9 billion divided by 27 million households and small businesses). Despite the enormous cost implications to consumers, the project has not received enough scrutiny. Government and utilities must be transparent – bills will inevitably go up to pay for it.

“It is wrong to package smart meters as a consumer and business benefit if those same consumers and businesses are expected to foot the bill and take on risks over and above the energy companies. We need a review that identifies ways to cut costs, starting with pursuing modern and cheaper technology options rather than expensive in-home meters. And secondly identifies how to shift the majority of benefits from suppliers to those paying for the programme – consumers.”

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