The government has spoken out against pushing back the rollout for smart meters by three years, following calls from Citizens Advice.
Energy and clean growth minister, Claire Perry said the proposal by Citizens Advice to extend the rollout until 2023 would “only delay” millions of households from enjoying the benefits of a smarter energy system.
By 2020 every home in the UK is to have been offered a smart meter installation.
Citizens Advice called for the extension to give suppliers more time to resolve issues such as first generation meters losing smart functionality when consumers switch and installation problems.
Writing in a blog Victoria MacGregor, director of energy at Citizens Advice, said: “With 42 million smart meters still to be installed, we’re concerned that the time pressure caused by the current rollout deadline will lead to a poorer quality installation experience and risks reduced value for money for consumers.”
Responding to the proposal, Perry said: “The rollout is making good progress with millions of households already enjoying a smart service. A further 400,000 meters are being installed every month and everyone who wants a smart meter will get one by the end of 2020.
“Suppliers must do everything they can to ensure people are happy with their smart meters. We always listen to concerns raised by Citizens Advice.
“However, the concerns they outline account for just 0.03 per cent of the 11 million smart meters installed so far. Around 80 per cent of people would recommend a smart meter to a friend or relative and 90 per cent are happy with their installation.
“Pushing back the rollout would only delay millions of households from enjoying the substantial benefits of moving to a smarter energy system – helping people to save money by using less energy.”
Robert Cheesewright, director of policy and communications at Smart Energy GB, added: “Smart meters will help modernise our energy system and improve customer’s experiences, as Citizens Advice recognise.
“They will deliver billions of pounds worth of savings to our economy, and will pave the way for a cleaner, greener and more efficient energy system.
“By getting a smart meter, we can all save money on our gas and electricity bills and stop manual meter readings and inaccurate estimated bills.
“The smart system is so much better than our outdated analogue system, which is why government wants suppliers to ensure every household is offered a smart meter by 2020.”