The UK postponed its mass installation of ?smart? energy meters by over a year as supplier?s battle with design glitches and testing is delayed.
The question I ask myself is whether the delay is justified?
The £11bn energy policy has been pushed back until autumn 2015, due to technical problems and a handful of other issues. Which sadly, many customers are all too familiar with.
There are a few concerns based around trust, looking at suppliers and all the current energy scandals, is this just another reason for customers to be weary of suppliers?
Whether the issue is, suppliers overcharging customers for their energy bills, malpractice or bad customers service, consumers do seem to be loosing faith in our energy suppliers! But could this delay in ?smart? energy be a ?smart? move?
?I want to ensure that consumers have a good experience of smart metering from day one.?
Should we be happy that suppliers are making sure no big mistakes are going to be made, the service is being perfected and suppliers have our best interests at heart?
Baroness Verma, minister for energy and climate change, said ?I want to ensure that consumers have a good experience of smart metering from day one (and) that?s why we are allowing additional time for the energy suppliers to complete the rollout, so industry has the time to get it right for consumers.?
Smart metering is an all-round beneficial money saving service, for suppliers and customers. The high-tech meters will boost energy efficiency, and work by monitoring energy consumption in real time. This will allow more accurate readings, fewer mistakes to be made on customer?s bills and it should also help reduce energy consumption. The meters are also extremely helpful for suppliers, returning key information on energy usage and removing on-site metering readings. All readings will be made electronically.
Richard Postance, partner at Ernst & Young, sees the delay as bad news; he states ?Pushing back the launch by 12 months takes away much needed control and transparency over the energy consumption from an already hard-pressed consumer base, as well as potential jobs in the UK.?
Even with all the delays, the rollout plans to put meters in over 2m homes over the next two years and if the policy is a success, it will increase to over 50m homes by 2020.
It is clear, that there are mixed feelings from the energy industry and consumers about the delay. But, many do agree that by taking this extra time, more precautions will be taken for the scheme to be spot-on and it will allow customers to accept the change. The rollout is there to benefit consumers by reducing their energy costs, giving accurate readings and hopefully allowing consumers to trust energy suppliers once more. So considering all these factors, I deem the rollout postponement as a good idea, provided that when the policy does go live, the results are positive with no nasty surprises.