Progress on smart meter roll out - new committee inquiry

22 September 2014

Smart-meters have the potential to bring great benefits to consumers, suppliers and the UK energy infrastructure. Smart meters allow energy suppliers to get remote electricity and gas readings of households and businesses using mobile phone-type signals and wireless technologies. The roll-out of smart meters in the UK is due to take place between 2015 and 2020 with an estimated 53 million devices to be installed by energy suppliers in 28 million homes and 2 million businesses.  The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that the roll-out of smart meters cost around £12.1 billion and these costs will be passed onto consumers. However, smart meters are expected to achieve approximate savings of £18.8 billion.

The roll-out of smart meters must be managed carefully if these benefits are to be achieved and costs are to be kept under control. The Committee first investigated UK Smart Meters in 2013 and is now investigating the Government’s progress on this ambitious project.

The Committee’s previous report

In its 2013 report, the Committee investigated the potential costs and benefits of the smart meter roll out, as well as progress towards the 2015 start. The Committee was overall supportive of DECC’s efforts but highlighted five areas where more clarity was needed:

  1. Keeping the overall costs under control
  2. The relationship between smart meters, demand-side response and a smart grid
  3. Consumer engagement
  4. Consumer savings
  5. Smart meter coverage and inter-operability

Terms of reference

The Committee invites responses addressing some or all of the following issues:

  • What progress has been made on smart meter roll-out since our last report on this subject?
  • To what extent has the Government addressed the concerns we raised about smart-meter roll-out, and the concerns raised by other interested parties since we published our last report?
  • What problems have emerged during the foundation stage and how are they been addressed?
  • What are the remaining challenges (technical, communication or other) associated with launching the mass roll-out of smart meters in 2015, and completing it by 2020?
  • How can these challenges be overcome?
  • What are the best approaches to monitoring the mass roll-out of smart meters?
  • What contribution can smart meters make to expanding the use of Demand Side Response as a means of addressing possible capacity shortages?
  • To realise the full potential benefits of smart meters, is it necessary to introduce time of use pricing for electricity?

Notes on submission of written evidence

Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted via the inquiry page on the Energy and Climate Change Committee website.

The deadline is Tuesday 04 November 2014. As a guideline submissions should state clearly who the submission is from e.g. ‘Written evidence submitted by xxxx’ and be no longer than 3000 words; please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this. If you need to send hard copy please send it to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 14 Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NB.

Submissions must be a self-contained memorandum in Word or Rich Text Format (not PDFs). Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Publication of evidence

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act.

Further information

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