The Daily Telegraph
Smart meters will fail in hydrogen homes
SMART meters will be rendered useless if Britain moves to hydrogen powered homes in the future, the business secretary has admitted.
Trials are under way to look at the feasibility of alternatives to gas boilers as the UK seeks to decarbonise home heating by 2050.
Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday said all homes with gas boilers could potentially be switched to hydrogen, depending on the outcome of trials to assess its safety and viability.
But he acknowledged that would require the replacement of smart meters, which work by measuring the gas flow, because of the chemical differences between hydrogen and methane.
“We are developing prototype smart meters that can be installed to be adapted to hydrogen,” he told MPS on the science and technology committee.
He resisted a suggestion of pausing the £13.4 billion smart meter rollout, which has been repeatedly delayed.
In 2018, experts suggested that it would cost about £22 billion to make the gas distribution network hydrogen-ready, but this did not take into account the cost to homeowners of changing their boilers, hobs, ovens, gas fires and pipes.
“This idea that you don’t have to do anything to your infrastructure is a massive myth that surrounds this technology,” said Ed Matthews, the campaigns director at the think tank E3G.
The lowest industry estimates suggest the cost of hydrogen will be three times more expensive than gas to the domestic consumer.
Greg Clark, who chairs the committee, said it was important that the Government began to “connect” the smart meter rollout with the potential introduction of hydrogen.
“They need to understand the cost that will be incurred to replacing smart meters, which might have only been recently installed, and which customers pay for in their bills,” he said.
Detailed plans on how the UK will use hydrogen are expected to be set out in the coming weeks.