You’d be forgiven for thinking the gossip of the week is football manager Alex Ferguson’s retirement after 27 years in the job – Man U fans around the country are currently snivelling into their red shirts. (As a lifelong Hammer, it’s no skin off my nose…)
But I’m afraid Fergie’s small fry compared to the news story which could affect virtually every household in the country. Not even the Red Devils can claim to have that reach.
So what’s more newsworthy than that? The Government’s smart meter roll-out – let me rummage in my top pocket for a second – has got the yellow card. Cue the frustrated footie chants.
The start of the nationwide programme to put smart meters into 53million homes and business properties has been rained off for 12 months, so the rumours go, with kick off now scheduled for 2015. Of course it follows that the roll-out won’t be finished by 2019, but 2020 instead.
It’s been a tough season for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, what with financial quibbles to rival the most hard-up Premier League clubs and tricky transfers on the cards (two senior officials are said to be departing soon). In DECC’s changing room there are rival technologies jockeying for pay rises, with New Nuclear and Wind both demanding bigger wages, while the old stars (Coal, the original fuel is hanging onto shirt number 01) struggle to keep their form.
Now the much trumpeted smart meters are giving them grief too – the Big Six suppliers have had a word with the referee and want more time to work out team tactics before play begins.
You can bet DECC and its smart meter supporters – the legions of builders, installers, home owners and businesses – are fervently hoping an extra year of practice does the trick before the whistle blows.