Risk smart meter rollout costs will “escalate” – National Audit Office

A multi-billion pound scheme to get smart energy meters in most British homes is at risk of costs “escalating”. Energy suppliers must replace 53 million meters in homes and small […]

Register now!

By Vicky Ellis

A multi-billion pound scheme to get smart energy meters in most British homes is at risk of costs “escalating”.

Energy suppliers must replace 53 million meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain with smart electricity and gas meters by 2020.

In a review of the Government’s progress on chivvying along the huge project, the National Audit Office said the economic case “remains positive”.

It is expected to cost £10.9 billion and bring economic benefits of £17.1 billion.

However auditors sound a note of caution that costs could “escalate”.

They list a catalogue of possible risks, from people’s reluctance to get meters, outstanding technical issues, the readiness of suppliers, network operators and the supply chain, plus the “robustness” of data security and privacy arrangements.

The report also notes four of the country’s biggest six suppliers are lagging behind on getting “significant” numbers of meters in homes in the run up to the official start date for rollout.

The body did not fully audit DECC’s figures.