Energy customers will have to fork out £215 for the installation of smart meters that will only save them around 2% on their annual bill, MPs have warned.
In a damning report published today, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) estimates the Government’s smart meter rollout – due to begin next year – will cost consumers £10.6 billion by the time it is completed in 2020.
Customers will be charged an annual amount of £11 on their bills to cover the cost, plus the £215 cost of installing the meter but only see savings of around £26 a year.
Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the PAC said: “Despite consumers footing the bill, they can on average make a saving of only 2% on the average annual bill of £1,328 by the time the roll out is complete.”
She also warned some of the technology is likely to be out of date by the time it is installed.
Currently, smart meters include an in-house display which tells consumers how much energy they are using and how much it is costing them. The Government hopes this will encourage consumers to use less electricity and gas.
However, the Committee argues similar information could be received on smart phones, making in-home displays “redundant”.
Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change believes smart meters will “put power into the hands of consumers”, bring an end to estimated billing and help people understand their energy use.
She added: “The nationwide rollout is part of the Government’s complete overhaul of the UK’s energy infrastructure which will revolutionise the market and support the development of smarter electricity grids. It will help reduce consumer bills, enable faster, easier switching and give households control at the touch of a button.”
The rollout requires energy suppliers to replace 53 million meters in homes and small businesses with smart electricity and gas meters by 2020.