London, UK, 3rd April 2013, the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF) Energy Group has launched this first paper in response to a meeting with Charles Hendry, MP, in April 2012. The Group has brought together interested parties from suppliers, consumers, standards bodies and politics to formulate the paper. This has been presented to Baroness Verma and the Group hopes to hold a meeting with the Minister in the near future.
“We have to turn the approach to smart metering on its head and emphasise the benefits to early adopters” says the Andrew Henderson, Co-Chair of the Energy Group, introducing the Conservative Technology Forum policy proposals in their paper: Power to the people. “The policy will fail unless adoption is encouraged by giving choice and the ability to better control their spend to consumers and more certainty of return to lead investors. This does not require a change to the commitment to roll out. But it does require change to presentation and priorities.”
As Energy Minister, Ed Miliband, rejected proposals put forward by Sustainability First in 2006 for a market-led pilot, based on consumer choice. We would encourage the current government to look again at a market-led approach, addressing consumers’ concerns over cost and giving suppliers the incentive to invest to avoid the rationing processes, implicit in Labour’s plans, having to be used.
The three pre-conditions to success are:
- Consumer engagement,
- Investor engagement
- Inter-operability standards
The paper does not suggest changing the commitment to the roll-out of smart meters. The route and timetable have, however, changed over time. The economic climate has changed. Pressures on customer (business as well as consumer) budgets have increased sharply since Conservative policy was last published as part of the “Rebuilding Security” policy document. It is also important to remember that smart meters are not an end in themselves. Their value depends on ubiquitous broadband, smart grid and smart infrastructure so that we can all make effective use of the information they generate.
“I am very pleased to have helped the Energy Group get this paper off the ground. A tremendous effort has been put in by people from both the consumer groups and industry. This represents a great step forward in what we all want to be a successful project,” commented Laura Sandys MP and first Co-Chair of the Group.
A four page management summary of the full paper is available at www.conservative-technology.org
Co-Chair, Energy Group
Conservative Technology Forum
Tel: 01256 861 813