Consumer group calls for five-year delay to smart meter deadline

Citizens Advice Scotland has called on the UK government to delay the final deadline for completion of the smart meter rollout by five years.

The current rollout, which is due to fully begin this summer, aims to offer smart meters to every household by 2020, but the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) at Citizens Advice Scotland said it believes this will cause problems for vulnerable customers and increase the overall cost of the project.

The EU deadline for completion is 2025 and the report argued that this should be adopted, recommending a target of 80 per cent of smart meter installs by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2025.

In a report published by the Scottish consumer group, CFU energy spokesman David Moyes said: “Our research has shown that there are significant problems with the government’s current timescale… We believe this is going to make the process more expensive and less effective than it could be.

“We think many consumers in Scotland will be disadvantaged because they receive a less functional type of smart meter if they are installed too early. We therefore think that extending the deadline for five years would benefit both the programme and consumers.”

The report also suggested that Ofgem should work with suppliers to minimise the installation of SMETS 1 meters in rural households, to “ensure the full benefits of smart meters are not missed”.

Prepay energy supplier Utilita also expressed concern about the smart meter timescale earlier this year.