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Smart meters may not start to save households money for a decade

January 10, 2019

By Paul Homewood

h/t Patsy Lacey


From the Telegraph:


Smart meters may not start saving householders significant amounts of money until 2030 and will cost homeowners more than previously thought, the body which represents energy firms has admitted.

When questioned yesterday by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of MPs, Energy UK’s director of supply, Audrey Gallagher, admitted that delays to the roll out of the devices could mean they may not save consumers significant amounts of money for years.

Under the Government’s smart meter roll out, which is specifically designed to help households reduce their bills, every home must be offered one of the devices by 2020.

Ms Gallagher told the committee that although the original impact assessment said that "big savings" would be seen by consumers by 2020/2021, this was now in doubt.

When asked by the committee when the full cost benefits of smart meters would be realized, she said: "Sorry, I don’t have that right now, but the benefit case goes up to 2030."


It comes after spending watchdogs said the Government’s smart meter roll out is in chaos and could end up costing every British household £100 more than first expected.

Multiple failings including delays and technical problems are threatening to add nearly £3bn, or around a quarter, to the cost of the project, according to the study published at the end of last year by the National Audit Office study.

Originally Ministers had said the total cost would be £11bn, or £374 per household, paid for by consumers through higher energy bills…

However an extra £3bn cost would mean an extra £93 charge on each household, effectively wiping out five years worth of savings generated by the devices, the report suggests.

Full story here. 



There is still a delusion that smart meters will save anything at all. But even on these official figures, the saving is only £18 a year (based on £93 = five years saving).

But still Claire Perry refuses to move from her obsessive path.


A few months ago, I mentioned that my darling daughter had smart meters fitted.

I asked her the other day if she had actually bothered to look at them yet. You can probably guess the answer, but it begins with “N” and ends in “O”!

  1. Adrian permalink
    January 10, 2019 11:03 am

    The best way to save ‘households money’ is through power cuts.

    And our ‘government’ appear to have this plan B already in hand, it will start working long before 2030.

    So households save money, business gets rich making worthless meters, and the morons that run this country get closer to some absurd ‘targets’.

    Surely this is a win, win, win, at least in the insane world I appear to live in.

  2. January 10, 2019 11:13 am

    I have batter powered smart meter that connects around the feed in cable and wireless connects to the little display that shows you the amount being used, and the costs. You can buy them for £40 online. So why not just give everyone one of these?

    • Robert Jones permalink
      January 10, 2019 8:39 pm

      Presumably they don’t send the meter readings to the energy supplier?

  3. Joe Public permalink
    January 10, 2019 11:23 am

    The good news is, electricity bill-payers will no longer pay new domestic solar-panel-subsidy-harvesters for exported power deemed at 50% of the total generated.

    The quantity for which they’ll get paid will be measured, via their export-capable smart meter. For them, no smart meter = no income.

    “Electricity exported to the grid from eligible generators must be metered – for domestic installations we expect smart meters to enable this”

  4. Patsy Lacey permalink
    January 10, 2019 11:23 am

    So Clare Perry didn’t have the figures and her staff hadn’t bothered to analyze savings to date. Would it be too cynical to think that they know without any analysis that there are no savings and huge costs to domestic energy bills? The much vaunted cap on standard tariffs has now become supplier’s target. Carte Blanche to raise prices even more.

    • January 10, 2019 11:32 am

      EU directive, gold-plated by the UK, and implemented with furious zeal by “green” civil servants. Naturally politicians don’t want to reveal who is calling the shots and their impotence in challenging any of it.

    • January 10, 2019 4:03 pm

      I’ve engaged with
      ASA and SmartEnergyGB over this
      I found that their cost saving claims were merely estimates sources from a very early report from about 8 years ago.
      The fact that they’ve not been looking for newer data, shows they are scared of what they will find.
      That in a normal consumer situation smart meters don’t save ANY energy.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        January 11, 2019 2:12 pm

        Their adverts in CityAM annoy me as they insinuate that just by fitting a dumb smart meter you save. I keep wondering if it worth an ASA challenge or whether they have already sided with the enemy.

  5. Robert Fairless permalink
    January 10, 2019 11:23 am

    Smart meters, so-called, are simply recording devices which will do nothing to save money. How can they? What device or function do they contain to reduce consumption? They have none. The scheme is a monumental scam deviced by fraudsters and paid for by the helpless consumer who is already paying for yet another government scam, namely wind turbines.
    The really sad thing is we really have no choice. It seems impossible to get rid of these ignorant and fraudulent politicians and their pseudo experts. Altogether they are worse than the Soviet Union ever was and we know what happened to it. But in the meantime, so much suffering over many years by the plebs.

    • HotScot permalink
      January 10, 2019 1:37 pm

      Robert Fairless

      Whatever your view on Brexit, it’s causing disruption amongst the political class and divisions between them and we plebs.

      The Speaker of The House, John Bercow, has succeeded in alienating MP’s by taking the Brexit matter into his own hands to ensure at least another referendum is called. Theresa May has screwed up the whole matter so comprehensively I am certain their will be more cabinet resignations, and almost no matter what the decision on the 29th March, there will be trouble on the streets.

      Trump has dumped the Paris Accord and Brazil looks to be next while Poland couldn’t care less and Germany is the standard bearer of renewables failure.

      Renewable subsidies are being withdrawn across the world, including China, as the reality of their failure begins to dawn, and the growing consensus that climate change is not a threat, whilst the IPCC and its acolytes wail and thrash with ever more dramatic and catastrophic predictions, none of which have manifested themselves in over 40 years. A fact the public are beginning to appreciate.

      So who do the plebs turn to when the sh*t hits the fan in the UK? I’m not sure but I’m pretty certain Theresa May’s days are numbered, Jacob Rees-Mogg looks to be the only credible candidate to succeed her and Nigel Farage is being unusually quiet whilst he’s quit the now discredited UKIP and one must wonder if he’s mounting his own run for the post.

      The political landscape is about to change quite dramatically I believe, for the first time in living memory really. Nor do I believe it’s confined to the UK as China is setting an example of success and prosperity with it’s communist/Capitalist hybrid political model. If they get their human rights issues sorted out then expect to see a Capunist or Commitalist party emerging in a variety of countries, if not the UK itself.

      I don’t suppose it’ll be in my time but it’s coming.

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    January 10, 2019 11:25 am

    I haven’t read this report yet but the headline summary seems to confirm what common sense would have suggested.

    “The dash for gas of the 1990s delivered lower carbon dioxide emissions and lower costs. If we had simply continued, we could now be enjoying electricity prices 30-40% lower than today, with similar carbon dioxide emissions, and vastly better grid security. Consumers are grossly overpaying for a very unreliable system.”

    • January 10, 2019 11:36 am

      I’ve given it a quick skim. It’s conclusion is what you would expect. Our moronic establishment has ignored reality and gone for the stupid, expensive and most environmentally damaging green option.

      The last sentence sums up the insane electricity policy of the last 20odd years:
      “In summary, practically every alternative scenario considered is superior to the current
      situation, the As-built reality, in at least one respect, and the Gas scenarios are overwhelmingly superior on every measure, including the reduction of emissions in the longer term.”

  7. Jules permalink
    January 10, 2019 12:07 pm

    What smart meter is that?

  8. David permalink
    January 10, 2019 12:36 pm

    Has anybody calculated the vast total amount of CO2 emissions created by the manufacture, delivery and installation of these things? Also I wonder how many tons of precious rare earth elements are to be plundered.

  9. donald penman permalink
    January 10, 2019 1:17 pm

    It has already started to save me money as I did not have to spend £40.00 changing my meter from pay as you go to a credit meter, I am now on a cheaper tariff and paying £4.00 a month less for my gas and electricity.

    • January 10, 2019 2:37 pm


      £394 ish was the cost per household of the smart meter rollout, if memory serves. This bitter little pill was baked into the bills – it was harvested from each household by the supplier, whether those households opted to take up the smart meter or not.

      Thus, at £4/month saving, it will still be 8 years before you have broken even.

      Once a critical mass of people have smart meters, time-of-use pricing will make it prohibitively expensive to use energy at certain times of the day – at least for the poor, whom this policy is supposed to be protecting. As sean2829 says below, this is about energy rationing. There are unintended consequences that are obvious.

      • Kenneth Maley permalink
        January 11, 2019 8:50 am

        Donald you are correct this is another
        Government con do you remember the first set of adverts when they stated get your smart meter free, trying to make as think it was free.l wonder what the public would make of a true advert saying get you smart meter at a cost of over £300 and raising you will be able
        To save £11 pounds a year BIG SCAM
        Don’t have one don’t be scammed.

  10. sean2829 permalink
    January 10, 2019 2:21 pm

    Smart meters may be sold as cost savings devices but they are designed to align power use with power generation. Traditional grid generated power had generation following demand. With intermitant renewables, consumers demand needs to follow generation (and wholesale electricity prices). Only through time of use pricing can consumers be cajoled into following power availability (and spot price) on the grid. So in the carrot vs. stick approach to motivation, smart meters are a cattle prod.

  11. Max Sawyer permalink
    January 10, 2019 2:53 pm

    “Theresa May has screwed up the whole matter so comprehensively …”

    Not from her point of view. Again, and through ever more tightly gritted teeth – well played, Mrs May. Co-opting the Speaker to her unholy alliance with the EU to reverse Brexit was a masterstroke. Her poisonous deal is now much more likely to be passed by our pusillanimous MPs, probably as an essentially unchanged “Plan B” (already drafted for her by the EU) after a token defeat on Tuesday. Over the next 2 years we can expect to see a number of EU measures that, purely by chance of course, will be disproportionately disadvantageous to the UK. Each will be followed by totally hypocritical government had-wringing – “We know it’s not good for the UK, but we had no say over it. How different it would have been had we remained a member.” This will be accompanied by subtle and not so subtle nudging towards acceptance of a second referendum, together with targeting the politically immature “studentariat” and other remain groups to ensure they turn out in droves to vote – and, from the EU, non-legally binding promises of unlimited jam tomorrow if the UK rejoins. However, if rejoining is the outcome, I can’t see it ending well, as it would represent the biggest and most cynical overturning of a democratic vote in the UK’s history.

    • HotScot permalink
      January 10, 2019 3:21 pm


      Well said.

      I think the whole point of May’s deal is so that when another referendum is called in the years to come, we will not have drifted too far from the EU so that it’s difficult for us to be re-assimilated.

  12. Geoffb permalink
    January 10, 2019 3:42 pm

    The National Audit Office report, last November, details the situation on costs and the compatibility issues. it is a lot worse than the Telegraph report states. Here is their summary on costs.

    Conclusion on value for money
    26 The Department acknowledges that, notwithstanding the industry and other
    bodies involved, it is responsible for the overall success of Smart Meters. While
    recognising the team’s achievements so far, we urge them to make sure the team
    culture does not become defensive, and resistant to inconvenient truths.
    27 The facts are that the programme is late, the costs are escalating, and in 2017
    the cost of installing smart meters was 50% higher than the Department assumed.
    7.1 million extra SMETS1 meters have been rolled out because the Department wanted
    to speed up the programme. The Department knows that a large proportion of SMETS1
    meters currently lose smart functionality after a switch in electricity supplier and there is
    real doubt about whether SMETS1 will ever provide the same functionality as SMETS2.
    The full functionality of the system is also dependent on the development of technology
    that is not yet developed.
    28 The facts summarised above, and many more, are not fatal to the viability and
    value for money of the programme. However, there are serious issues that need to be
    addressed if Smart Meters is to progress successfully and deliver value for money.

    On the technical issues which caught my eye.

    The batteries in the gas meters are not replaceable and the meter has to be changed when they run out. It is expected they will last 15 years.

    The system runs on the 2G mobile mobile network which will probably be closed down by 2030.

    I wonder if the civil servants who are responsible for this mess will still get their knighthoods…probably. In industry they would get the sack.

  13. donald penman permalink
    January 10, 2019 3:51 pm

    It surprised me that in many leave areas in the country in the referendum it was young people who voted to leave the EU perhaps because they want secure work not the short term contract or temporary work that is all that available to the unskilled today because of mass migration from Eastern Europe, the myth is being perpetrated that the reason for this is that British workers are lazy but it is not true .

  14. January 10, 2019 4:12 pm

    Yorkshire Post mentions Citizens Advice calling for a new cost benefit analysis, Perry saidcthere would be one in 6 months. Caroline Flint asked why it hadn’t already been done.
    Like we all would.

  15. dennisambler permalink
    January 10, 2019 4:13 pm

    A recent Commons answer from Claire Perry revealed that the Feed in Tariff has cost over £5 billion to date. Money transferred from the poor to those able to take advantage of it.

  16. January 10, 2019 4:14 pm

    Worryingly I spot the Anglsey CAB making tweets promising grand savings with smart meters

  17. Athelstan permalink
    January 10, 2019 5:17 pm

    Vice grip.

    Ordered to do and everyone told to do as ordered, diktat rules OK, transnational laws and unelected busy bodies setting the laws and no redress, a wet dream for the autocrats and their Nomenklatura.

    Imagine a world gone to a cashless society, who has the reins? Where smart phones, sat nav pinpoint where you are and what you’re doing at all times. They have access to your bank accounts thus know precisely just where ‘your’ money goes and then think of treasas internet laws, where ‘the ghosts’ can, do patrol the internet looking for thought crime and perceived crime – a nightmare right?

    Do we not have a governing ‘elite’ who wish to control every part of our lives, smart meters merely another facet of control and dominion.

    I think we’re missing the point in that smart meters are only designed not to allow the consumer to see his/her consumption and thereby economize, huh really? – not a bit of it, it just don’t work like that anymore, freedom of choice and power for YOU – pull the other one..

    The answer is ‘controlled supply’, most grid engineers worth their salt know it, coal is being phased out, Nuclear is being wound down (HINKLEY III…..ho, ho, ho and I believe in santa I’ll believe it when I see it) and all the birdmincing whirlygigs and PR arrays – ruinables at peak demand at certain times of the day will not make up the shortfall and thus demand needs to be limited and controlled from the grid – by rote, by arbitrarily set external termination.

    Know them by their actions, keeping us all within the straitjacket of the EU, ‘they’ TPTB were never going to allow us to leave, you thought it was bad before June 23 rd 2016 did you? Two and a half years later, welcome back to real slavery and north Korea something similar will be styled and fashioned for and in Britain – you know it.

  18. Peter Schofield permalink
    January 10, 2019 5:57 pm

    These meters are only needed because of the renewables, which are unreliable and hence they want us to limit demand when supply decreases. As the new GWPF report shows with crystal clarity, if the `dash for gas` had been continued prices could have been halved at the same time as CO2 emissions reduced, the grid could have been stable and reliable, efficiency would have been increased, the need for interconnectors reduced or eliminated and we wouldn`t need smart meters. Interesting comment at the end of the report about syngas research in the USA.

  19. Athelstan permalink
    January 10, 2019 6:25 pm

    It needs to be said that, energy loss incurred through buring methane to turn tubines to generate electricity is an extremely inefficient method of using a valuble resource, gas primarily should be used for domestic heating and cooking appliances and of course in big industry and heating offices and hospitals etc.

    Coal. (and of course fission) in modern lean burn combustion units: is by far the best form of fuel for generating large scale base load electrical power.

  20. January 10, 2019 8:58 pm

    British Gas seem to have stopped cold calling (pestering) me about fitting a smart meter, think they finally got the message that the smart meter wouldn’t really work that well with our solid fuel Rayburn! 🙂

    As the Rayburn provides all our heating, cooking, hot water, clothes drying, kettle boiling, washing machine hot water and de-humidification we only have 4 main items in our house that run on electric (fridge, washing machine, microwave and TV) plus lights which are almost all low energy units and subsequently we can use as little as 4kWh per day (4 units) of electric. British Gas actually sent people out to our house to inspect the meter and electric supply, I think they suspected we were bypassing the supply as our usage was very low compared to most 🙂

    To be honest though, in recent years the number of small gadgets that need charging has dramatically increased in our house due to kids getting into their teens. So many damned mobile phones, games consoles and computers that seem to be permanently plugged in to chargers that our usage has surged as high as 10kWh per day in the last year. My advice is don’t have kids, they cost you a bloody fortune!

    The best thing about using solid fuel is we are virtually immune to power outages (whether planned or unplanned). The only thing that we really miss during a power cut is lights so we have a huge stock of candles, torches and battery powered lights. My wifes Land Rover can also be run as a portable generator to power the downstairs lights and a fridge too. I am tempted to let BG fit the smart meter so I can be smug when they try and remotely limit power and it has no affect on us….. 🙂 😉

  21. January 10, 2019 10:54 pm

    Smart meters are very sinister as they ENABLE total state control of the energy usage of individuals and industry. Beware in the future should you ever be classified as a dissident or fall foul of state policy. If you think that the law will protect you. consider what happened in Germany not long past when all citizens had to carry an identity card.
    You cannot rely on the State remaining benign and subject to law.

    Forget the duff economics. Refuse to have a smart meter on principle. That way, at least you can’t get hacked.

  22. January 11, 2019 8:47 am

    What shocks me is that for the cost of these units they are actually useless. It shows the levels of ineptitude or even corruption in government.

    The smart meter does nothing more than our current standard dumb (albeit digital) electric meter. I can take a reading each day at the same time and can work out that my household has used 10kWh of electricity. However it doesn’t show me which device has used that electricity.

    We actually bought a little ‘smart’ meter from Maplins about 10 years ago. It only cost £30’ish from memory. You plug it into a socket and then plug in your device such as fridge or TV etc. You can program your unit costs etc and it will then report back the actual usage for that unit over a period of time, even showing you reasonably accurate predictions of electric costs. You can simply move it from device to device over a few months, leaving it there for a week or so for each device. After a few months you can build up a very detailed picture of where your electric is going and which devices are costing you the most. I know you can do the same on paper by writing down the power rating and working it out yourself based on how long you think the device is used for but the Maplin device makes it so much easier.

    It proved really useful as we discovered our fridge/freezer was using significantly more electric than we had realised because it was in our kitchen which is very warm due to the Rayburn. We moved the fridge/freezer into our hallway which is unheated and quite cool. That HALVED the electric consumption of the fridge/freezer! Saved us a fortune over the years. We found the same thing with the washing machine, due to it being cold fill only (and quite old) it was using a lot of electric. We bought a new washing machine that not only had hot fill (so could use pre-heated water from the Rayburn) but had modern technology to measure the water going in based on load and with a more efficient motor etc. That also resulted in a halving of operating costs for the washing machine.

    So if Maplins could market such a great ‘smart’ meter for £30 (albeit 10 years ago) how the hell does it cost £400 for these government sponsored meters? and why are the government saying it can save you money when the reality is that unless you can identify consumption per device it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to save any money. How could a government smart meter identify that my fridge freezer was using twice as much electric as it should have been?

    If they actually monitored each device in the house individually and gave you detailed room by room or device by device reports/logs then I could accept the costs even though I personally would not really need that functionality now. I just think the smart meters being pushed at the moment are a scam.

  23. Kenneth Maley permalink
    January 11, 2019 8:52 am

    Donald you are correct this is another
    Government con do you remember the first set of adverts when they stated get your smart meter free, trying to make as think it was free.l wonder what the public would make of a true advert saying get you smart meter at a cost of over £300 and raising you will be able
    To save £11 pounds a year BIG SCAM
    Don’t have one don’t be scammed.

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