Smart meters are a ‘costly mistake’ a report claims

A report from the Institute of Directors (IoD) says the UK government’s programme to install smart meters is a huge, costly mistake and should be halted or abandoned altogether.

The report, entitled “Not too clever: will Smart Meters be the next Government IT disaster?” (PDF) describes the £11 billion scheme as “the most expensive and complex smart meter programme in the world.”

It adds that the risks of such a huge programme with so much complexity are staggering, and that consumers might get stuck in an endless installation, de-installation and re-installation cycle.

The Major Projects Authority has carried out three assessments into the smart meter programme; however, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has refused to publish them, citing commercial sensitivity, The Register reports.

Dan Lewis, report co-author and Senior Infrastructure Advisor at the IoD, describes a "political consensus" regarding the rollout as "a conspiracy of silence among politicians in thrall to big ideas and even bigger budgets."

"This is not an age when he have to take the government in trust on numbers. This is not where we should be at in the twenty first century," Lewis told The Register.

Lewis took smart gas meters as an example of how bad things might go. These meters won’t recognise differences in population density, which means the fuel poor might subside the fuel profligate.

"There is no transparency of the numbers," says Lewis. "The public hasn't been given access to the numbers behind the cost/benefit analysis. We might well end up with a situation in which the fuel poor are effectively subsidising the fuel profligate."

Smart Energy GB responded to the IoD report claiming the IoD "does not understand what’s needed to secure Britain’s energy infrastructure for the future.”