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Smart Meters

A Woman looking at an electric meter in her home (iStockphotos)

All homes in the UK will have smart meters from their energy supplier by the end of 2020, which will help households reduce their carbon footprint, the Government has announced.


Smart grids will give operators and consumers much more information about supply and demand of electricity, enabling them to see how much energy they are using. Trials of smart meters have resulted in some people moderating their energy use.


A standalone display device with meters will make it easy for consumers to see and understand their energy use and carbon emissions in real time, the Department for Energy and Climate Change said.


Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt said: 'Smart meters will put the power in people's hands, enabling us all to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills.'


The BBC said that case studies had shown that people could reduce their bills by about £100 a year as the meters can encourage changes in behaviour.


Earlier this year the Government committed to the roll out of smart meters for both electricity and gas in all homes and most small businesses by the end of 2020. Around £8.6bn will be spent in replacing some 47 million gas and electricity meters, which are expected to deliver total benefits of £14.6bn over the next 20 years.


DECC has also announced plans for a smart grid to manage the flows of electricity and to increase the use of renewable energy.


Smart grids will give operators and consumers much more information about supply and demand of electricity – enabling more effective interaction between consumer needs and fluctuating supplies. Specifically they will:


  • Deliver electricity more efficiently and reliably by reducing the costs and emissions from electricity generation and transmission;
  • Facilitate increased generation of low carbon electricity sources such as wind; and
  • Give consumers more control and choice of when they use electricity allowing them to save money.


Related links

UK energy system gets smart, Department of Energy & Climate Change 02 December 2009  

UK energy smart meter roll-out is outlined, BBC News 02 December 2009