Government announces plans to increase smart meter installations

The government has set out new plans to ramp up the installation of smart meters in households and small businesses across the country.

Energy suppliers currently have an obligation to take “All Reasonable Steps” (ARS) to install smart meters in all homes and small businesses by the end of 2020, but work has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the government has extended the deadline by 6 months, to make up for the reduced contact that energy suppliers have had with customers.

Plans for a four-year framework were also announced, to achieve market-wide coverage of smart meters. A consultation will take place in the autumn on setting strict future annual targets for suppliers, that could result in fines if missed.

Under the new Framework each energy supplier will be recognised for all the installations of smart meters that they achieve in any rollout year. Annual installation targets will then be reset at the start of the subsequent rollout year, again on a trajectory towards market-wide rollout.

The government says small businesses with smart meters collectively save around £1.5 billion each year on their energy bills. The Committee on Climate Change has said that without the flexibility enabled by smart meters the cost of reaching net zero by 2050 could be up to £16 billion a year more expensive than current estimates predict.