THE deadline for when energy suppliers must offer smart meters to every home in Britain has been pushed back by four years under new proposals.
Previous guidelines meant energy suppliers had until 2020 to provide smart meters to every household in England, Wales and Scotland.
But new plans by the Government sees this pushed back to 2024, meaning some homes might wait years longer to get the energy-saving device.
A smart meter is a gadget you have installed in your home that replaces your normal gas or electricity meter.
It automatically sends meter readings to your supplier and comes with a gadget to tell you how much energy you’re using throughout the day.
Last month it was revealed not having a smart meter can cost you £250 extra a year.
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The proposal follows a consultation today by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where it was revealed “strict” new annual targets for suppliers would be put in place until 2024.
Energy watchdog Ofgem has previously warned the Government is not likely to hit its target with an estimated 30,000 million devices still needing to be installed.
While one in three households are reporting problems with their smart meter, with issues ranging from displays not working to devices going dumb, according to uSwitch.
Other problems include first generation meters that stop working when you switch supplier, although this problem should be fixed by 2020.
When asked by The Sun, a spokesman for the department denied the Government is not on track to meet the deadline.
Citizens Advice called the move “common sense” and says it gives time for “ongoing problems” in the rollout to be fixed.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “It’s been clear for a long time that the 2020 deadline wouldn’t be met and today’s announcement finally recognises that reality.
“We are pleased the government is extending the deadline to ensure the benefits for consumers are delivered.”
But autoswitching service Look After My Bills described it as a “kick in the teeth” to families who face paying higher bills.
Lily Green, head of research at Look After My Bills, said: “The smart meter rollout has been mired in delays and disorder since the very beginning.
“It’s once again households who will have to foot the bill.”
Minister for Climate Change, Lord Duncan of Springbank, said: “We remain on track for suppliers to offer every home a smart meter by the end of next year, but to maintain momentum beyond 2020 we are proposing strict yearly installation targets for suppliers from 2021.
“This will deliver even greater benefits for households and reduce emissions – helping the UK to meet its net zero 2050 target.”
For more information, check out exactly what a smart meter is.
We’ve also revealed how British Gas, Eon and Npower are “blackmailing” customers into getting smart meters by withholding cheapest deals.
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