Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Coalition mulls over earlier date for universal smart meter rollout

Ofgem consults with energy firms and smart meter manufacturers over
viability of accelerated rollout

Energy minister Charles Hendry is actively considering moving the target
date for the UK's universal rollout of domestic smart meters
forward from 2020 to 2018, in a move
designed to accelerate ambitious plans requiring tens of thousands of smart
meters to be installed each week for much of the next decade. Earlier this summer, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
released its Smart Meter Prospectus, confirming the coalition wants to
"accelerate significantly" the rollout of smart meters compared with the
previous government's published targets.

Industry sources have now confirmed Hendry is pushing both energy firms and
market watchdog Ofgem to investigate moving the target date forward by two
years as part of efforts designed to make smart meters a central component
of the coalition's climate change strategy.

"Charles Hendry talks regularly about reaching a 2018 target," said Stephen
Cunningham, chief executive for the UK and Ireland at smart meter giant
Landis+Gyr. "That is helping a more ambitious target get baked into Ofgem's

BusinessGreen.com has also learned that Ofgem wrote to energy suppliers and
smart meter firms earlier this month requesting information on whether an
accelerated rollout is technically and economically feasible.

In particular, it asks for information on the "magnitude, timing and
probability of any increased costs and risks" associated with an earlier
target date and a view on "the likelihood of any supply chain or other
constraints arising".


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