UK's climate change department is abolished, so what’s next for the smart meter programme?

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Following the closure of the UK government’s Department of Energy & Climate Change to form Theresa May’s new government, campaigners have suggested there should be a major rethink of the smart meter programme calling it ‘costly’ and ‘shambolic’.

However, we believe the benefits of the programme significantly outweigh the negatives aired by sceptics in the market.

The smart meter programme set out by the government aims to fit 53 million digital gas and electricity meters in 30 million premises (households and businesses) by 2020 across Wales, Scotland and England. There have been delays in rolling out the plan, but there have already been 3.6 million installations in Great Britain so far.

The programme allows consumers and smaller businesses to monitor their gas and electricity more closely and help them understand their bills and what’s costing them. This information can then be used by a business to make positive changes to working practices and improvements to equipment, with the aim of reducing consumption, and in turn, costs. This will have a direct impact on their bill at the end of the month.

The programme was born out of an EU directive, which has raised questions about its plausibility since the UK voted to leave the European Union. However, the decision by the British government to adopt smart meters, after carrying out an initial study, is part of its plan to update our ageing energy system and benefit Britain as a whole.

Lucia Harney-Dey, our associate director said: “With an ever increasing supply pressure on the grid and increasing levies such as renewable obligations, feed in tariffs and contracts for difference and capacity mechanisms, there is every chance that electricity prices will continue to rise.

“At Orchard we believe smart meter technology is a crucial step towards a smart energy grid which is a vital and modern way of running our energy networks.”

The smart grid has been likened to the internet, but for gas and electricity, and will be a mechanism for everyone to manage their energy usage.

Lucia continues: “We are using more and more energy which means it’s crucial we find ways to reduce our carbon emissions. It’s possible to do this by integrating new technologies, like solar and wind energy and electric cars and we cannot rely on our existing network which was created years ago when things were much simpler.”

Benefits of the smart grid to Britain include better matching supply and demand, enabling us to plan for the number of power stations we’ll need in the future with greater accuracy, helping us to be more efficient, greener and waste less energy, make energy more secure and reliable and help us to tackle unexpected power outages faster. Smart meters can also open the door to flexible pricing which means we can use solar and wind energy when it's plentiful.

In a written submission by the DECC to Parliament last month, it was shown through research carried out by British Gas, that smart meter customers have reduced their energy consumption by an average of about three per cent for both gas and electricity. It is also clear that the newly appointed environment secretary Andrea Leadsom intends for the programme to remain as strong as ever and that it will continue despite the abolition of DECC.

To find out more about the smart meter roll out visit: https://www.smartenergygb.org/en

At Orchard we have a dedicated team through our sister company Providor, working to install and maintain commercial smart meters. To contact a member of the team please call 08445 810844.