18 May 2009 12:05:08
UK government accused of underestimating smart meter costs
The UK government's plans to implement a nationwide rollout of electricity and gas smart meters could cost as much as £6.4 billion more than expected.
That is according to Tony Ward, a power and utilities expert from financial company Ernst & Young, who suggested that it will take as much as £13.4 billion to install the meters across the nation's 26 million existing homes.
Speaking to the Times, he explained that this equates to a spend of £515 per household - significantly more than the government's estimate of between £269 and £346 per property.
Mr Ward told the newspaper: "Very big and complex projects of this sort always cost more than anticipated."
He suggested that the government will face problems gaining access to all of the nation's properties in order to install the meters, which are expected to encourage people to be more efficient in their energy usage and to cut their carbon emissions.
It is also hoped that the scheme will enable easier switching between different suppliers and provide suppliers with opportunities to offer consumers cheaper off-peak energy.
The smart meter rollout is expected to begin following a consultation and is due for completion by 2020.http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn053/pn053.as...