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2016 a ‘crucial year’ for smart meter rollout, says Lord Bourne

The UK's smart meter rollout has gotten off to a slow start, but Lord Bourne remains confident of meeting the government's targets. Image: Customer-led Network Revolutions.

The UK's smart meter rollout has gotten off to a slow start, but Lord Bourne remains confident of meeting the government's targets. Image: Customer-led Network Revolutions.

Lord Bourne is confident that the government’s smart meter rollout programme will achieve its aim of reaching every UK household by 2020 and has labelled next year as “crucial” for the programme’s success.

Speaking at Smart Energy GB’s ‘Smarter Britain, Smarter Environment’ event yesterday, Lord Bourne admitted that the “ambitious” programme had faced challenges but reiterated the government’s commitment to meeting its target.

While the government wants a smart meter in every home by 2020, just 1.3 million have been installed domestically to date. A further 620,000 have been installed in commercial and industrial buildings, and Lord Bourne said he was continuing to meet with all major energy suppliers to discuss the programme.

Earlier this week Ofgem fined E.ON £7 million for failures in its business smart meter rollout programme and warned the utility over its future conduct.

Lord Bourne said the early rollout had provided a “solid foundation” upon which the government can build, but stressed that wider smart meter rollout will “not happen overnight.

“We need to ensure continuity and momentum over an extended period… driving the public’s awareness and understanding, and ultimately inspiring them to demand and use smart meters, is also key,” he said.

However Lord Bourne was adamant that the challenges facing the rollout were not “insurmountable”.

“The benefits of smart metering must be delivered in the real world. We know that smart metering can and will transform the industry, so the watchword of the coming years is delivery - as this is the only way that benefits will be delivered for British energy consumers,” he added.