Sunday, July 06, 2014
Smart meters to be put into every home - even if they don't work
The metres are linked up to monitors called In-Home Displays, which show customers how much power they are consuming at any one time and how much it is costing them. The Government hopes that having access
to this real time information will encourage families to alter their energy use accordingly.
However the gas and electricity meters transfer information wirelessly using a communication hub called ZigBee which does not work in buildings with thick walls or in multi-storey flats.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has estimated the technology will see bills fall by £26 a year by 2020 and cut electricity usage by 2.8 per cent and gas by 2 per cent.
However an early study of 743 Dutch households found users consumed only 0.9 per cent less gas and 0.6 per cent less electricity.
A risk assessment carried out by the energy watchdog, Ofgem, has also identified ‘"a range of threats such as cyber, viruses and malicious software."
Margaret Hodge, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said:
“This is a typical Government project – they set up a big scheme but don’t think about the costs to the consumer because it’s being driven by the energy companies. This expensive equipment is already out-of-date, because we could get the information on our smartphones.
“The Government should really think about the technology they are using and make sure that the consumer benefits.”