New Smart meters will cost YOU £200

Smart meters will be costly and may not save energy

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smart meter

Do you want - or need - an energy smart meter? You may think not, but the Government definitely thinks you do - even if they don't work properly. An £11bn campaign kicks off this week to put smart meters in every UK home. But there are concerns about smart meter reliability - as well as the accuracy of their data.

Will they work for you, realistically - or cost you money?

How smart?

If you live in a high rise or a basement flat, or if your property has very thick walls, then your smart meter may be useless - and therefore completely unsuited for well over 20% of all UK properties. If not, you may save energy and money - eventually.

However, smart meters will cost YOU cash. "The cost of each meter stands at roughly £200," says uSwitch, "and energy suppliers have admitted they will be passing this cost on to bill payers."

Consumer costs

EU pressure to cut greenhouse emissions is part of the reason why the Government is so determined to push ahead with the roll-out. Another reason is the hope that it will help ease the pressure on rising utility bills, which hit poorest householders proportionately hardest.

Meters work by transmitting information wirelessly. But the saving figures are modest: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has estimated the move will see bills fall by only £26 a year by 2020. (Read their full report here.)

"This is a typical Government project," chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, quoted in the Telegraph. "They set up a big scheme but don't think about the costs to the consumer because it's being driven by the energy companies."

Slight savings

"This expensive equipment is already out-of-date, because we could get the information on our smartphones." The Dutch have been trialling the move.

But the savings - a gas consumption fall of just 0.9% a year - haven't been as significant as hoped (read their report, in English, here).

"From the quantitative consumption change measurement it appeared that households that had a smart meter on 1 January 2012, and that actually received a bi-monthly home energy report, consumed an average of 0.9 % less gas per year, compared to an average household without a smart meter."

Some claim the risks of wireless technology have been not yet full explored - see Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt's interview, Smart Meters & EMR: The Health Crisis Of Our Time. However the Government insist that smart meters are a positive force.