Plans to delay the roll-out by one year were confirmed by the government in a programme delivery plan, published on 10 May. It said that after consulting with industry on the design, build, and test phases of the programme, the “consistent message” was that more time was required if the smart meter roll-out was to get off to the best possible start.
To take account of the change of date the government also confirmed that the deadline for the completion of the roll-out will be extended to the end of 2020. Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey has said he still expects the vast majority of smart meters to be in place by the original deadline of 2019.
The government also used the update to say that “good progress” has been made during the Foundation Stage of the smart meter programme. The final bidders are in place for the creation of the Data and Communications Company and a high-level regulatory framework has been established to protect domestic consumers and micro-businesses during the installation process.
This is a prudent decision that recognises the scale of the programme and the need to prepare carefully.