Dave Elliott: The UK’s very ambitious £11bn Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP), aimed to install smart meters in all the UKs 26 million homes by 2020. Smart meters send energy suppliers data on consumer energy usage automatically and wirelessly each month, so consumers get accurate bills instead of estimated ones. That also allows consumers to monitor their energy use in real time. Some versions provide a separate Smart Energy Display (SED). The expectation was that this would make consumers aware of their energy use, so that they might then reduce it- and their energy bills. Suppliers would benefit by not having to employ meter readers and by having full data on their customers’ energy use, which could aid system planning and cut costs. However, all has not gone well with the smart meter roll out. As with any advanced IT system, initial bugs and delays were to be expected, but the smart meter programme seems to have attracted more than its fair share and this has led to much adverse media coverage. Some reported specific problems. However, the most recent study of smart grid programme, by researchers at Sussex University, points to lack of consumer engagement, insufficient information, and inadequate attention to vulnerability which it says are key reasons for the slow roll out, this despite the £100m marketing campaign. It notes that there has been consumer apathy and confusion, especially in the case of vulnerable people, with uncertainties about the benefits remaining. It notes that, at one time, it was said that the programme might cut energy use by 5-15%. But now 1-3% is seen as more realistic, with, it seems, mandatory adoption and some targets abandoned.
New Renew Extra 2nd March 2018 read more »