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Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Offer smart meters to every household and business by the end of 2020

Last updated: 09:29am 21 January 2019

First, we will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020, giving people control over their energy bills that they have not had before.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.60

Our verdict

This is part of a broader commitment to make consumer markets work more fairly. The manifesto says that when it comes to the energy market, “customers trust established brands and mistakenly assume their loyalty is rewarded”. In an effort to counter this, according to the government website:

“Smart meters put consumers in control of their energy use, allowing them to adopt energy efficiency measures that can help save money on their energy bills and offset price increases.”

This policy is adapted from a 2015 manifesto promise to “ensure that every home and business has a smart meter by 2020”. In 2017, the pledge changed to say smart meters will be “offered to every household and business by the end of 2020″.

As of September 2018, there were around 12.8 million smart and advanced meters operating across homes and businesses in Great Britain. To give context, there are approximately 49 million meters in total (more than 46 million in homes).

The energy regulator, Ofgem, states that:

“Gas and electricity suppliers are required by their licence to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all of their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020.”

That is reiterated on the government’s smart meter web page, and also on the website of the independent organisation Smart Energy GB.

This policy is ‘in progress’. The requirement to roll out smart meters means that is something the government has to track, but movement on this policy pledge to “offer” smart meters does not seem to be included under the government’s current monitoring programme.  We’ll need to ask them how they are capturing that data, and if by the end of 2020 there is evidence that all households and businesses have been offered smart energy meters, we’ll move this to ‘done’. Follow this policy to keep up to date.

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