The roll-out of over 30 million smart meters to UK homes is set to be delayed by more than a year, the Government has confirmed.
The £11.7bn project was set to roll-out in 2014, but has now been delayed until the autumn of 2015 with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) suggesting the industry needed more time to develop the systems to a necessary standard.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: "Completing the national roll-out will be an enormous logistical and technical challenge for the industry.
"Getting this right for consumers is the Government's priority."
Alongside the Government's Green Deal, offering energy customers subsidised rates on such things as replacement boilers and wall insulation, smart readers are designed to boost the energy-efficiency of consumers homes.
The roll-out will now not occur until autumn 2015, with the completion date also pushed back a year to 2020.
Baroness Verma, minister for energy and climate change, said: "The coalition is committed to making smart meters available to everyone as soon as possible. I have listened to industry and consumer representatives and recognise the enormous challenges involved in delivering the roll-out of smart meters.
"I want to ensure that consumers have a good experience of smart metering from day one [and] that's why we are allowing additional time for the energy suppliers to complete the roll-out, so industry has the time to get it right for consumers."
Set to replace existing meters in the home, smart readers will also mean energy firm staff are no longer required to provide readings at customers homes as the meter reports usage in real-time. This will save both consumers and the energy companies money, but the energy firms first want to ensure everything is in place prior to a national roll-out.
Energy UK chief executive, Angela Knight, said: "We welcome the government's prudent decision to allow an additional 12 months to complete the smart meter programme.
"This recognises the scale of the programme and the need to prepare carefully.
"Allocating extra time to the programme will mean that it can be completed in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, and to greater effect."
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