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Leading article: Electric dreams

Most government-sponsored technological innovations – from public sector super computers to ID cards – promise to make life more difficult, rather than easier. But smart energy meters might just prove an exception.

When smart meters are installed in all British homes, we will be able to see the rate at which we are using energy and precisely how much it is costing us. Those households which have trialled the meters have managed to cut their energy use significantly, saving themselves money in the process.

Smart meters also promise to reduce the overheads of energy companies by ending the need for them to dispatch meter readers. Finally, by helping to bring down overall energy consumption, smart meters should prove a relatively cheap and painless way to slash our national carbon emissions.

For once, the Government seems to be putting its energy into a worthwhile project.