Consumers could be saddled with an extra £1.8bn on their energy bills because of flaws in the Government’s plan to install “smart” gas and electricity meters in every home by 2020, suppliers have warned. Three of the Big Six energy suppliers EDF Energy, ScottishPower and npower are now calling on ministers to review the £12bn nationwide roll-out of the meters, which automatically read gas and electricity usage and transmit the information back to suppliers.
Ministers claim consumers should eventually save money because they will be able to see their usage in real-time, encouraging them to use less energy. Meter reading and billing costs should also fall. However, bills will rise over this decade to pay for the installation programme, while critics say the savings are uncertain. More than 1m homes already have the meters, but the nationwide roll-out is due to begin in earnest next autumn.
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