A group of British MPs is calling on the government to develop a plan to replace millions of smart meters that will become defunct when 2G and 3G mobile networks are switched off.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a cross-party group of MPs, issued a report on October 23, 2023, saying that the government needs to do more to ensure that smart meters are replaced in a timely manner. The report notes that as of March 2023, energy companies had rolled out smart meters to just 57% of homes and businesses in the UK. Of these devices, around 9% are not functioning properly.
The PAC estimates that an additional 7 million smart meters will lose functionality when 2G and 3G mobile networks are closed in 2033. These meters will require costly hardware upgrades, which will ultimately be borne by billpayers. The PAC is asking the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) and energy regulator Ofgem to develop a plan for replacing the affected smart meters.
The plan should include a timetable for replacement, as well as measures to ensure that suppliers are prioritizing the replacement of malfunctioning meters. The PAC also wants DESNZ and Ofgem to outline measures to ensure that new smart meters are installed with future-proofed technology, such as 4G or 5G connectivity.
The PAC’s report is the latest in a series of warnings about the state of the smart meter rollout in the UK. In June 2023, the National Audit Office (NAO) found that the project was “running late and over budget.” The NAO report said that the government had failed to adequately plan for the rollout, and that energy companies had been slow to adopt the new technology. The government has defended its record on smart meters, saying that the rollout is “progressing well.”
The sources for this piece include an article in TheRegister.