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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

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Smart meter roll-out: Professor Harriet Bulkeley gives expert evidence to the House of Commons Energy & Climate Change Committee

(11 June 2013)

Professor Harriet Bulkeley gave evidence at the Energy and Climate Change Committee inquiry into Smart Meter Roll-out on Tuesday 14 May 2013 at the Palace of Westminster. Smart meters are due to be rolled out to homes and businesses across the UK between 2014 and 2019. The Committee’s inquiry explores DECC’s preparations for smart meter roll-out and some of the concerns that have been raised. The evidence provided to the Committee included some of the preliminary findings of the CLNR project. 

Professor Harriet Bulkeley gave evidence at the Energy and Climate Change Committee inquiry into Smart Meter Roll-out on Tuesday 14 May 2013 at the Palace of Westminster.

The Committee’s inquiry explores DECC’s preparations for smart meter roll-out and some of the concerns that have been raised. Smart meters are due to be rolled out to homes and businesses across the UK between 2014 and 2019, with the costs of roll-out being passed on to consumers in their bills. DECC estimates that smart metering will bring a net benefit of £6.7 billion, with projected benefits including more efficient network management, accurate bills, energy and carbon savings, bill savings for consumers, and faster switching between suppliers. However, concerns have been raised about various aspects of roll-out, including cost, timescale, data protection, privacy and the extent to which consumers will really benefit.

The evidence session explored a range of issues, including:

  • the evidence from UK trials on consumer interaction with and benefit from smart meters
  • the potential for shifting electricity demand
  • cost and value for money of roll-out
  • security and interoperability issues
  • the timescale of roll-out
  • communication and smart meter coverage
  • consumer engagement with roll-out.

The evidence provided to the Committee included some of the preliminary findings of the CLNR project. During the evidence session Professor Bulkeley said:

“I think the new trials that are happening at the moment are going further into depth to try to understand what the effects of the smart meters are, why it is that you get those kind of results, and how they combine with other things, such as time-of-use tariffs, which will add detail to our understanding of what a smart meter roll-out might look like….

 

“…we find the idea of a smart grid trial has provoked within people a sense of a civic relationship with the grid. They treat it not so much as a matter of a consumer relationship, but they are quite interested in their own role in keeping the lights on, in securing energy futures, and in the decarbonisation and climate change agenda. That may speak for why the introduction of a smart meter in the gas network had an effect, because it changes people’s relationship to their energy system. I think that is quite an interesting emerging finding from our work.”

 

Read the uncorrected transcript of oral evidence (Published 24 May 2013) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmenergy/uc161-i/uc16101.htm

 

Watch the evidence session about Smart Meter Roll-out on Parliament TV http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=13120

 

Find further information on the inquiries being undertaken by the Energy and Climate Change Committee at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/energy-and-climate-change-committee/