Government highlights smart meter plans

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The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has revealed more about its plans for a nationwide deployment of smart meters, according to an article published by

Designed to provide consumers with immediate access to up-to-date energy information, the DECC is expecting a total of 30 million homes and small businesses to be supplied with meters by 2019.

Charles Hendry , DECC minister, explained: "In less than three years energy suppliers will begin the mass rollout of smart meters across the country and I am determined that consumers are at the heart of this ambitious program.

"That is why today we are proposing tough guidelines on installation, which will minimise inconvenience and help people to make the most of their smart meters to save energy and save money. In addition, I want to be absolutely clear to consumers that they will be in control of their energy consumption data.

"So apart from where it is required for billing or other regulated purposes, it will be for consumers to decide who can access their data," Mr Hendry concluded.

Amongst the guidelines stipulated by the DECC are that there will be no sales made during the installation visit, energy efficiency advice must be provided during the installation visits and consumer permission must be sought in advance if the firm carrying out the installation wish to discuss its own products.

Mike O'Connor, Consumer Focus chief executive, welcomed these guidelines.

He stated: "We welcome the banning of sales during installation and that marketing will only be allowed if the customers agrees. This shows that the Government has listened to consumers. We support the proposals to address consumer concerns about the privacy of information.

"But, to make this work, people must be aware of their rights and the choice available to them on how much information is passed to suppliers," he concluded.

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