The man behind an £11 billion project to put a smart meter in every home has admitted that he got rid of his own because he “barely looked at it”. Mike O’Brien, who was energy minister under Gordon Brown, said that the scheme was struggling because households across the country did not constantly check their energy consumption and limit their usage accordingly. Plans to roll out the meters, which give homeowners a live display of how much gas and electricity they are using, were initiated under the Labour government in 2008 by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), then led by Ed Miliband. The policy has been delayed after it was put on hold by successive governments. It sought to install 53 million devices by 2020 but is far behind schedule. Mr O’Brien told The Daily Telegraph: “I had an early version. After a while I barely looked at it, didn’t use it. We got rid of it.” In 2014 ministers said the meters would cut the average dual-fuel bill by £26 a year. They are now expected to cut it by £11 a year because installation costs have surged by £1 billion, according to a report. Up to one in ten first-generation devices “go dumb” because of a weak signal from the mobile network they use to communicate with the supplier and more than half stop working when customers switch providers, a group of MPs and peers said this week.
Times 28th July 2018 read more »