- 2015 Energy Service Group Conference
- 23 February 2015
This conference notes that 2015 marks the beginning of the national roll out of smart meters to UK homes and that this roll out should be completed by 2020. Much positive spin has been placed on the net benefits the smart meter programme will deliver, however despite this many concerns have also been raised.
Conference further notes that the total cost for the programme is estimated to be in the region of £11 billion, a cost that will be passed onto all consumers.
Recent analysis by the national audit office has suggested that some of the proposed gains have been overestimated and that consumers will not realise the level of savings originally promised.
Confusion also remains about the suitability of meters in at least 30% of UK properties due to location and building type and whether meters will need to be changed again when the customer changes supplier, as common guidelines and specifications are not yet fully agreed. Security concerns also persist with recent accounts of data being hacked.
Critically conference recognises that we have many members who work in metering and that these members remain concerned for their long term futures as not enough has been done by employers to address these concerns. It also supports the accord reached between the European Public Services Union and Eurelectric (industry body)on smart meters which refers to the European directive on this subject and makes clear that;
• The Directive foresees cost- benefit analysis to determine the added value of the introduction of smart meters. We underline that it is important for Member States to undertake such analysis and include all stakeholders in the preparation for as well as the subsequent evaluation of the results;
• There is concern that the introduction of smart meters will have consequences for employment. These consequences could be negative with certain occupations and jobs disappearing. They could also be positive as the roll-out and new services will create work and require new skills and qualifications. We underline that these consequences should be included when cost-benefit analyses are undertaken. The results should be discussed also with the social partners;
Therefore, conference calls on the Energy SGE to;
1)Request that the Government and the energy regulator update their cost benefit analysis of the meter roll out programme and to publish this in a transparent way. Such an analysis should also include the social costs of possible job losses or employment changes as a result.
2)Oppose the roll out programme if the cost benefit analysis does not justify the investment required or the employment disruption caused.
3)Develop improved links with members who work in meter reading and look to ensure that we are clear that we have understood their concerns and views on the smart meter roll out programme
4)Continue to develop the meter reader’s charter which should be used to influence employers to develop best practice in response to the roll-out programme.