The Institute of Directors (IoD) has slammed the government’s “flawed” smart meter rollout, warning that it is “well behind schedule”.

New figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) revealed that 3 million smart meters have so far been installed in homes and small businesses across Britain.

The IoD claimed this was “well behind schedule” to hit the government’s target of 50 million installed by 2020, and the rollout risks leaving customers to foot the bill for meters which will bring them “little or no benefit”.

“The truth is that most of the meters going in at the moment will only give each household a paltry energy saving of 2 per cent a year,” said IoD senior infrastructure advisor Dan Lewis.

“There are concerns about the security of the smart meters rolled out so far (so-called SMETS1 meters), while the next generation of meters (SMETS2) are not ready to be installed in significant numbers.

“Frankly, the whole project is a bit of a mess. The government must now admit that it’s not going to plan and pause the rollout while it considers its options. Carrying on full-steam ahead with the current programme, ignoring falling energy prices, in order to avoid embarrassment is simply not justifiable.”

Smart Energy GB defended the rollout, and condemned the IoD for releasing “fundamentally flawed” analysis.

Smart Energy GB chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said: “A year ago the IoD produced a fundamentally flawed analysis of smart meters which was riddled with factual inaccuracies and contained absurd policy ideas, ranging from fitting webcams in every home to digitising the energy supply for only the richest parts of the population and leaving the rest of the country behind.

“The IoD has already been shown to be incorrect in its analysis and it still does not understand what is needed to create a secure, efficient and sustainable energy supply for the future.

“It is a great shame that, by repeating such poor quality and incorrect analysis, the IoD is rapidly losing any credibility as a serious commentator on energy or infrastructure policy.”

The report also showed that by December 2015, of the number of smart meters installed in domestic properties, 1.88 million were installed by large suppliers and 0.44 million by small suppliers. A total of 525,900 non-domestic smart meters were in operation in December and one in five were operated by the large suppliers.

A DECC Spokesperson said: “There are now more than 3 million smart meters across Britain, putting people in control of their energy use. Energy suppliers are well on their way to offering every British household and small business a smart meter by the end of 2020.”