25/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 12:06

Energy firms must pass on smart meter savings, say MPs

Category: Business

Published: 17th Jan 2012 04:00:16

The government must ensure that energy companies pass multi-billion-pound savings made by installing "smart" meters on to customers, MPs have said.

The £11.7bn scheme will provide 30 million UK homes with exact details of how much gas and electricity they use.

But the public accounts committee said it was "far from certain" consumers would benefit and urged ministers to oversee the roll-out more closely.

The government said it was already closely monitoring firms.

Smart meters show exactly how much gas and electricity is being used, rather than customers receiving monthly estimated bills - which can lead to overpayments.

Energy companies are set to install them in homes and businesses between 2014 and 2019.

The government says the meters will increase off-peak tariff usage and increase competition between providers, saving £18.1bn in bills.

But the MPs' report warns: "No transparent mechanism presently exists for ensuring savings to the supplier are passed on to consumers, and the track record of energy companies to date does not inspire confidence that this will happen."

Any slowdown of this crucial investment will frustrate energy customers”

The report comes after consumer campaign group Which? called on the government to postpone the scheme until it had reviewed its approach, saying there was a danger the situation could become a "fiasco".

The committee's chairman, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said: "Consumers will benefit from smart meters only if they understand the opportunity to reduce their energy bills and change their behaviour.

"So far the evidence on whether they will do so has been inconclusive. Otherwise, the only people who will benefit are the energy suppliers."

But energy minister Charles Hendry said: "The last thing we need is more dither and delay. We accept that in the past government had been too hands-off and that is exactly why we have brought the programme in-house.

"We are determined to take the scheme forward, with ministerial oversight and safeguards for consumers built in."

Gearoid Lane, managing director of British Gas New Markets, said: "Our customers have told us loud and clear about how they are benefiting from smart meters.

"Smart meters put an end to the frustration of estimated bills, give customers more direct control over their energy use and open the door to new energy saving technologies. Any slowdown of this crucial investment will frustrate energy customers."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Energy firms must pass on smart meter savings, say MPs [Online] (Updated 17th Jan 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/218307/Energy-firms-must-pass-on-smart-meter-savings-say-MPs [Accessed 25th Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Pop star Tulisa found guilty of V Festival assault

    Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa has been found guilty of assaulting a man at a music festival.
  • Jet2 creates 86 new jobs at Belfast International Airport

    The airline Jet2 has said it is creating 86 new jobs at Belfast International Airport with flights to new destinations.
  • Magaye Gueye: Millwall sign ex-Everton striker

    Championship club Millwall have signed former Everton striker Magaye Gueye on a free transfer.
  • Andrew McKinlay jailed for murdering Josephine Steele

    A man who stabbed his partner to death then stayed with her body for five days has been jailed for life.
  • Contactless payments due for Tube network

    Contactless bank cards are to be introduced on London's Tube, DLR and Overground trains.