Energy customers to save very little money for expensive smart meters

10 September 2014

energy Energy customers are looking at getting a £215 bill for the installation of smart meters, but at least they'll all start saving money right?

Well, customers will save around 3% on their average annual bill by 2030.

The Commons public accounts select committee reckon that this smart meter rollout will cost £10.6 billion for the actual meters, with households paying for the £11 annual running costs, plus the £215 cost of installation.

The committee predicts that consumers will save just 2% on an average annual bill of £1,328 until 2020, rising to £43 a year, or 3% by 2030. Of course, this is only dependent on whether customers are savvy enough to cut their energy consumption.

Who knows what will be going on in 2030? You can bet that the new meters will be redundant and out of date by then. Still, that's not stopping anyone.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change reckon that households will save £18.5 billion over 20 years if they can see how much their energy is costing them. They overestimate how many people want to sit and gawp at an energy meter after they've finished work.

In addition to that, recent cuts to wholesale energy costs haven't been passed on by the Big Six, so looking at an energy meter will inevitably make you hate your provider more.

Margaret Hodge, the committee chair, said: 'The costs of installing 53 million smart meters will be borne by consumers through their energy bills. It will cost around £215 per home or small business over the next 15 years to install the meters - an additional cost people can ill afford."

"Despite consumers footing the bill, they can on average make a saving of only 2% on the average annual bill of £1,328 until 2020. Even this is conditional on consumers changing their behaviour and cutting their energy use. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is relying on the consumer becoming more "savvy" in making decisions about using energy."

"The department is depending heavily on assumed competition in the energy industry to control costs and deliver benefits. Relying on market forces to keep costs down may not be enough on its own to protect consumers. This is something energy companies don't have a great track record on. Ofgem's referral of the energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority reflected serious concerns about the lack
of real competition in the industry."

TOPICS:   Utilities

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