The smart meter rollout, set by the UK government, is expected to be delayed as energy firms have been told to slow down installations due to a lack of devices. It seems that by next month (March 2019), energy firms will not have enough of the latest devices to match the number of smart meter appointments being booked in.
The Plan for the Smart Meter rollout
The original goal for the smart meter rollout was for energy firms to offer a smart meter to every UK home by 2020. However, those who were responsible for promoting it have admitted that this will not happen due to delays.
As of next month, the old models will no longer be installed. These models currently make up most of the 12 million devices that are already installed. Instead, there will be a newer model that will be installed. This is due to the lack of adaptability in the old models. These versions lose their smart functions whenever a consumer changes supplier. The new models are designed to be completely compatible and adaptable.
Failing to meet Targets
However, it has since come about that these new devices also come with some technical issues. As a result, there will not be enough to roll out by the expected deadline. This is a huge setback for the rollout as it means that firms will have to reduce the number of smart meter appointments they have with customers. Consumer group ‘Which?’ have issued a warning that suppliers would need three times as many appointments as they are currently making to meet the government’s deadline in 2020.
According to sources from within the industry, the setback has created chaos for suppliers’ plans. Some have already run out of the earlier model. It appears that there aren’t enough second-generation meters either, causing a large scramble to get them.
What to Do
Tom Thorp, of Foresight Metering, which provides smart meters to energy firms, said, “We have recommended to all the energy suppliers we work with that there should be a dip in their rollout programme. Part of the reason for slowing down is to make sure we can honour the appointments.”
Robert Cheesewright, corporate affairs director at Smart Energy GB, said, “There are so many things that this rollout can deal with but it’s now being let down by poor delivery. You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that the rollout won’t be completed by the end of 2020.”