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We're paying £11bn for smart meters, but they won't stop the plague of billing errors

woman looks at energy usage on tablet
Not so smart: with five million 'smart' meters now installed, the vast majority of the population still appear not to know what they are for

I don’t think it will be very long before more householders, like me, question the point of their smart meters and demand to know why as a nation we’re spending £11bn installing them.

So far almost five million have been installed, with the aim that 26m homes will have them by 2020.

Yet a survey published last week by Smart Energy GB – the body set up at some considerable expense to promote the rollout of these devices – revealed that two in three people don’t know what they are. That’s despite a marketing budget of around £25m to spread the word.

If you are among the majority still to be enlightened, let me explain.

“Smart meters” are meters that go a bit further: they track domestic gas and electricity usage, like their old-fashioned predecessors, but they differ in that they then transmit this information directly to the supplier. They also transmit consumption data to an “IHD” – that’s...

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