White paper heralds smart electricity meters for homes

24 May 2007
The government has unveiled plans to provide free visual electricity display units to all households obtaining new or replacement electricity meters to enable them to monitor their domestic energy usage.

The scheme, outlined in this week's energy White Paper, is designed to help customers minimise their carbon footprint.

Seeing how much energy they were using would aid customers who want to control their usage and change their behaviour, commented uSwitch.com's director of consumer policy Ann Robinson.

More than three quarters of people now think they lack the energy usage information they need to make their homes as energy efficient as they would like.

But National Consumer Council chief executive Ed Mayo stressed that, while the government's proposal was welcome, "gizmo gestures are not enough".

Customers would need more detailed information to start reducing energy bills, he said.

Nevertheless, smart meters would mean estimated energy readings were a thing of the past, with customers' bills more closely corresponding to their real usage, a spokesperson for moneysupermarket.com added.

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