In what is purportedly the world’s largest smart meter roll-out , the U.K announced a plan today to put a smart meter in every home by 2020. It won’t be cheap. The replacement scheme is estimated to cost over $10 billion, and homeowners will bear the brunt of the cost. But the Energy Retail Association claims that the roll-out will be cost-neutral for customers due to savings on energy bills. And as a result of the program, the U.K could save $4 to $5 billion in energy costs over the next 20 years as well as 2 million tons of CO2 each year.
In the U.K government’s ideal scenario, energy suppliers will be responsible for meters and a third party will take care of energy data management. The plan could be a boon for companies involved in smart metering technology, including Silver Springs, Trilliant, General Electric, and IBM. The U.K is already testing smart metering through energy companies npower and British Gas.
The U.K smart meter roll-out plan may be big, but the U.S. has already begun to put smart meters in millions of homes. California’s Pacific Gas & Electric is deploying 5 million meters, Southern California Edison is sending out 4.8 million, and Florida Power & Light is deploying 4.5 million. Smaller roll-outs are sprinkled across the country.
Boulder, Colorado has laid claim to the title of the world’s first smart grid city, but the U.K might just be the world’s first smart grid unitary state. It will likely take the U.S. well over 10 years to deploy smart meters to every home. In the meantime, Britain can act as a proving ground to show us the positives and negatives of a large-scale deployment of smart meters.