Energy and Climate Change CommitteeSupplementary written evidence submitted by John Cowburn (SMR01a)

INCLUSION OF KEYPADS ON SMART METERS

The latest impact assessment published by DECC on the roll out of smart meters makes for interesting reading, not only for the basic mistakes in the arithmetic but also for some of the new features that have been added. One of the most difficult to justify must be the inclusion of a 12 button keypad on every meter.

The impact assessment makes the following statement:

“In order to ensure a better experience for the small subset of customers that may have to input data to the meter, the design requirement for the customer interface has been revised from two buttons to a 10 figure keypad.”

The assessment assumes a cost of £1.75 per meter to add this feature, which will add £124 million to the cost of the roll out.

Bearing in mind that the “small subset of customers” are themselves a subset of the 20% that are on prepay in the first place then £124 million seems extremely difficult to justify when the government is cutting back spending on essential services.

It is for the market to decide how to tackle such issues, not DECC. Companies will develop innovative ways of tackling the problem, those that develop a good solution will sell products, those who don’t will not. It is likely that 95% of keypads fitted to meters will never be used, 80% certainly won’t as these are not prepay customers.

The impact assessment can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/68903/impact_assessment_for_smart_meters_equipment_technical_spec_2_gov_response.pdf

January 2013

Prepared 26th July 2013