The roll out of the Smart Meter programme for electricty supply has been badly handled from the start. It was always too ambitious and was launched with little explanation of what is was all about. It was clearly of benefit to the electricity companies, but there was no obvious benefit to the consumer, just vague hints that you could save yourself money by being more aware of your energy usage. At a time when energy costs were rising this should have been a great selling point. So why wasn’t it?
Everyone was talking about “switching” to save money with a new supplier, but the big energy companies didn’t want you to do that, So they made Smart Meters that didn’t allow for switching. The result was that people didn’t opt to have Smart Meters. What a surprise!
So the Government’s flagship new initiative on energy conservation had to be extended to 2020. Meanwhile the big energy companies began writing more threatening letters telling customers they had to have meters fitted because it was irresponsible to waste energy.
At the same time there were more and more adverts on the tele encouraging you to “switch” to save money. But the Catch 22 was that with a new Smart Meter that is the one thing you can’t do !
So most people didn’t switch and the programme fell further behind.
In increasing desperation the Government tried another idea. Tell everybody that Smart Meters are actually a Health & Safety initiative. You/they will be able to monitor someone with dementia with a Smart Meter. (See my blog on “Smart Meters” by clicking in the Archive for 17 March 2019)
That didn’t work either so the deadline for switching had to be extended yet again. Less than half the UK households have switched to date and the costs of switching have risen from £2.5 billion to £13.5 billion. These costs will of course eventually fall on the consumer. The extended, extended target for completion is now 2024 ….. or maybe forever.
Now the Government switches to threats, firstly to the energy companies who will be fined if the programme slips behind. Secondly, the irresponsible energy guzzleing public will have to pay higher prices if they don’t have a Smart Meter.
So it’s gone now from saving us money, to costing us money.
Perhaps we should all go back to generating our own electricity ?