14. What progress is being made on the roll- out of smart meters. (902831)
I can assure the hon. Lady that good progress is being made. Energy suppliers have now installed over 2 million meters in homes and small businesses across Britain, ahead of the main installation stage starting later this year.
In September 2014, the Public Accounts Committee raised concerns about the roll-out of smart meters, but very recently, Alex Henney, a former Conservative energy adviser, warned the Secretary of State that the roll-out would at best be regarded as a waste of money and that it is “a ghastly mess”. Does she agree with Mr Henney, and what is she doing to resolve those problems?
I can say very clearly to the hon. Lady that I do not agree with that position. Smart meters will have a great future in this country. We discussed in earlier questions energy security and fuel poverty. Smart meters will be a very good way for people to reduce their bills and use less energy, therefore creating fewer carbon emissions. Smart meters are an important part of that.
I have no doubt that the introduction of smart meters will help customers to control their energy bills, but, just so that they are aware of the background, will the Secretary of State confirm that the UK is rolling out smart meters because of European Union directive 2009/72/EC?
My hon. Friend is right that the European Union has directives that give us guidance on this matter, but there is no question but that the initiative of smart meters is of huge advantage to UK customers. UK customers and consumers will always be put first.