James Ashton: Smart-meter plans aren't looking so bright
Outlook The companies queuing up for a slice of work from the Government's grand plan to put a smart energy meter in every home have been waiting for a verdict longer than most homeowners used to have to hang around for the meter reader to knock on their door.
True, there is much to be gained if consumers already struggling with hefty gas and electricity price rises can use the new technology to reduce their power consumption and therefore bills.
But, just like the decision on building the next generation of nuclear power stations, the contract awards made yesterday highlight that this is a scheme already running significantly behind schedule.
Some utilities have grown tired of waiting. Centrica and others are already installing their own smart meters for customers, as a recent advertising campaign points out. If some of the Big Six energy suppliers are putting in the investment themselves, doesn't a government-mandated programme begin to look redundant?
Cash-strapped Telefonica, owner of the O2 mobile network, will be glad of the extra income from providing the technology that will allow remote meter reading. But the upfront cost to the taxpayer is huge, and meters in every home won't be operational until 2019 at the earliest.
The government admitted recently it didn't have enough expertise in the corridors of Whitehall to manage effectively large-scale infrastructure projects such as this. I do hope it can find some, or else this programme risks becoming as costly and unnecessary as the shambolic £12bn IT upgrade of the NHS.
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 4 Kanye West climbs on table at Nando's to crowd chants of 'Yeezus' before Brit Awards 2015 performance of 'All Day'
- 5 New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Ukraine crisis: Putin will cut gas to Europe unless Russia is paid by the end of the week
Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we now know about man named as Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Kanye West climbs on table at Nando's to crowd chants of 'Yeezus' before Brit Awards 2015 performance of 'All Day'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity to join this new...
£18000 - £21000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£36000 - £44000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Encouraging more businesses to ...