Government’s 2025 smart meter target faces ‘uphill struggle’, analysis suggests

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The target for fitting a smart meter in every British home might be missed even after being extended twice, analysis suggests.

Experts at Cornwall Insight, a consultancy, said it was unlikely that 100% of homes would have one of the meters by 2025.

The current target is already a watered-down ambition from the original plan to fit a smart meter in every home in the country by 2020.

That target was abandoned in 2019 when the Government realised there was no chance of it being met.

At that point the target was extended to 2024, but after Covid caused further delays another year was added to the deadline.

They have been given annual targets between now and 2025, but some are already falling behind.

“If suppliers are to be given realistic installation targets, the 100% goal is likely to be unattainable in the two-and-a-half-year time frame,” Cornwall Insight said.

By the end of this year all suppliers need to have filled half of the homes on their books with a smart meter.

However those falling behind include companies who have taken on customers from rivals that collapsed during the energy crisis.

Cornwall Insight consumer markets analyst Mikael Mahmud said: “Smart meters have been shown to decrease bills and reduce peak time energy consumption.

“Additionally, getting to 100% coverage would be an important milestone for other industry workstreams such as market-wide half-hourly settlement, helping to support flexible energy use and facilitate the transition to net zero.

“However, while suppliers have made progress in increasing their smart meter rollout, if they are to keep within realistic goals, they face an uphill struggle to meet the Government’s 100% target.

“Given the number of variables in play, from the upfront costs incurred by suppliers, through to customer willingness to install the meters, the Government must weigh carefully their 100% coverage goal against the acceptable tolerance level, which allows suppliers to deviate from their targets.

“It’s important to acknowledge that hitting or missing installation targets may not always be within the supplier’s control.”

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