Ask your MP about the value of smart meters.
It’s taken a long time for the bubble to burst, but there are signs that reality is starting to break through the Panglossian fixed grins of the British smart metering establishment. As readers of this site will know, I’ve been critical of the GB programme. I have no issue with smart meters per se, but what is being proposed for deployment in Britain before 2020 is unlikely to offer any of the cited benefits. Instead it’s likely to add over £11 billion to the energy bills of English, Welsh and Scottish consumers.
DECC, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, have spent much of the last five years fending off criticism and fighting Freedom of Information requests to explain how they came up with their figures justifying the British smart metering programme. Until recently they’ve managed to pull the wool over the eyes of ministers and the National Audit Office, but that strategy finally unravelled with the recently released report from the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, which concluded that “without significant and immediate changes to the present policy, the programme runs the risk of falling far short of expectations. At worst it could prove to be a costly failure.”
A further nail in the coffin of DECC optimism came today, when the highly respected Institute of Directors’ Policy Unit issued a scathing critique of the programme in “Not too clever: will Smart Meters be the next Government IT disaster?”, which goes as far as to suggest the best course may be to abandon the programme altogether.
Further evidence suggests that the programme is considerably further behind than many of those involved realise. There is also a growing concern about its cost within utilities, many of whom would be happy to abandon some or all aspects of it. The first task of whoever is elected in May could be to make the decision to kill it. Continue →