Feeds

OFFICIAL: Smart meters won't be compulsory

No offence to refuse in Blighty

Boost IT visibility and business value

Vid So-called 'smart meters' will not be mandatory, the energy minister has confirmed. The pledge was made by Charles Hendry last Thursday, and confirmed to us by the Department of Energy and Climate Change today.

The energy minister in the previous Labour government, one Ed Miliband, introduced legislation to make smart meters mandatory for homes and small and medium-sized businesses by 2014 as part of the condition for licensing energy companies. The electronic devices must collect information every 30 minutes, and use wireless chips to phone home. The cost per household, including installation, was estimated at £340 per household, or £9bn countrywide, with customers footing the bill.

The advantages for suppliers are considerable: laying off thousands of employees, including meter readers and call centre staff, introducing per-minute variable pricing, and cutting off the energy supply remotely. It also promised a boom for the IT sector.

But Hendry told the House of Commons that:

We believe that people will benefit from having smart meters, but we will not make them obligatory. If people are concerned about the electromagnetic issues, they will not be required to have one. We have been willing to give assurances to Hon Members on that account.

A DECC spokesman told us:

This is not actually new. While smart metering brings significant benefits, it will not be an offence for householders to refuse to accept a smart meter and we have made it clear that we do not expect suppliers to seek an entry warrant simply to fit smart metering equipment.

Until the licensing conditions for energy utilities change, however, we must assume it's full-speed ahead.

"We are determined to take the scheme forward, with ministerial oversight and safeguards for consumers built in," Hendry said last month.

And it's not just the suppliers who stand to gain from the installation of smart meters. Earlier this week the Wi-Fi Alliance teamed up with the ZigBee crowd at DistribuTECH to demonstrate how marvellously their respective technologies can deliver Smart Grid applications, based on the recently published Smart Energy Profile 2.0.

ZigBee is a low-power mesh-radio technology which has been looking for a killer application for a few years now. It has had some success in industrial settings, but is a prime contender for IP-addressable smart meters.

Voluntary smart meters might not be so compelling, despite this jolly video which would surely convince the most adamant sceptic to sign up:

®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.