Plans to put 50million smart gas and electricity meters in all homes and businesses by the end of next year are hopelessly behind schedule.
Official figures show a 6.7 per cent fall in the number of high-tech devices installed in the first three months of this year compared to the final three of 2018.
The cost of the project is also rising and is now expected to hit £11.5billion – with all energy customers footing the bill.
A total of just over 1million domestic smart meters were installed in early 2019 taking the total to 17.14million.
his is well behind the number needed by this stage to meet the 2020 target.
The situation is made even worse by the fact that more than 2million of the first generation devices no longer work.
The meters offer real-time information on energy use to home owners, helping them cut bills.
The data is also transmitted to energy companies, removing the need for estimated bills and meter readings.
It is claimed that when householders get real-time information they tend to make cutbacks, which leads to lower bills and cuts the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the installation programme is hugely expensive. Initial estimates suggested the meters would cost £374 per household, but this has gone up by an average of £17 and could rise again to £400.
As a result, the total cost is expected to go up £500million to £11.5billion and could, potentially, be substantially higher.
The ultimate aim of the programme is to install 50million of the devices in 30million homes and businesses across Britain by the end of next year.'
Read more: Price of installing smart meters for gas and electricity across Britain is expected to be £500 million more than expected - and YOU will cover the cost through charges on your energy bill
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