Homes and small businesses to get smart meters by 2019

Energy ministers have announced that 30m homes and small businesses will have smart meters by 2019 bringing an end to estimated billing.

As the programme gears up for the beginning of mass rollout in 2014, the Government is consulting on proposed frameworks for consumer engagement and data access and privacy. These proposals will give greater clarity to suppliers and consumers about how that rollout will take place.

The Government has also confirming that suppliers should develop a code of practice covering a range of key areas around the installation process.

Key proposals set out in today’s consultation documents include:

• Consumers will have a choice about who has access to their data, except for data which is needed for billing and meeting other regulatory obligations, typically on a monthly basis;

• A model for centralised communications activity to help all consumers understand how to use smart meters to better manage their energy consumption and expenditure;

• Proposals to ensure that vulnerable and low income consumers can benefit from the rollout;

• There should be no sales during the installation visit;

• Installers must provide energy efficiency advice as part of the visit;

• They will need the consumers permission in advance of the visit if they are to talk to them about their own particular products; and

• All households will be offered an in-home display allowing them to see what energy is being used and how much it is costing.

Energy minister Charles Hendry said: “In less than three years energy suppliers will begin the mass rollout of smart meters across the country and I am determined that consumers are at the heart of this ambitious programme. That is why today we are proposing tough guidelines on installation, which will minimise inconvenience and help people to make the most of their smart meters to save energy and save money.

“In addition, I want to be absolutely clear to consumers that they will be in control of their energy consumption data. So apart from where it is required for billing or other regulated purposes, it will be for consumers to decide who can access their data.”