Smart Meters Bill

Explanatory Notes

Compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights

54 The Secretary of State has made a statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 that, in his view, the provisions of the Bill are compatible with the Convention rights, on introduction of the Bill in the House of Commons.

55 Clauses 1 and 6 may engage Article 6 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention of Human Rights ('the ECHR') to the extent that the modification of licence conditions and codes is determinative of civil rights and obligations. However, there are sufficient safeguards to ensure that there is no actual interference with Article 6 rights. Clauses 1 and 6 may also engage Article 1 of Protocol 1 (protection of property) of the ECHR insofar as changes to licence conditions may interfere with energy companies’ licences. We nevertheless consider that the powers strike a fair balance between the general public interest, namely the benefits that the introduction of smart meters bring and maintaining the continuation of the services that the smart meter communication licensee is required to provide under its licence(s), and the rights of individual licensees and is proportionate to the aims to be achieved.

56 The smart meter communication licensee SAR may also engage Article 1 of Protocol 1 as regards potential interference with the rights of creditors and third parties. However, there are sufficient safeguards to ensure that the SAR’s provisions can be operated in a way that is compliant with property rights and that any interference with such is justified. We therefore consider that clauses 2 to 5 strike a fair balance between the general public interest, namely maintaining the continuation of the services that the smart meter communication licensee is required to provide under its licence(s), and the rights of creditors and third parties, and are proportionate to the aims to be achieved.

 

Prepared 17th October 2017