Elec­tri­cal charges

PC Pro - - Briefing Pc Probe -

The ini­tial cost of the smart-me­ter project was quoted as £11 bil­lion, but re­search com­mis­sioned for con­sumer group The Big Deal found the price had al­ready risen by more than £1 bil­lion be­cause the De­part­ment for Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy had un­der­es­ti­mated the cost of in­stal­la­tion.

What the changes needed to fix SMETS1 will add to the bill re­mains to be seen, but ul­ti­mately the cost will be borne by bill pay­ers.

“The con­sumer car­ries the whole cost of the roll­out be­cause, al­though it’s a govern­ment man­date, they’ve ar­ranged that it goes onto your en­ergy bills – it doesn’t go on the Trea­sury book,” said WiFore CTO Nick Hunn. “The govern­ment has given free rein for providers to pass the cost on to con­sumers.”

That’s one rea­son why gas and elec­tric­ity sup­pli­ers re­acted an­grily when the govern­ment pro­posed caps on house­hold prices fol­low­ing re­cent price in­creases. Bri­tish Gas, for ex­am­ple, added 12.5% to its charges in Au­gust 2017 – de­spite the fall­ing whole­sale costs of power – but claimed that in­stal­la­tion of smart me­ters added £33.60 to the av­er­age house­hold an­nual bill.

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