The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), comprised of cross-party MPs, penned a report to update the rollout of the smart meters, with multiple deadlines missed along the way of the $17 billion project.
The report echoes an earlier one by the National Audit Office (NAO), which found that as of March 2023, energy companies had rolled out the devices to just 57 per cent (roughly 32.4 million out of a potential install base of 57.1 million) homes and businesses. Of these devices, around nine per cent needed to be fixed.
The PAC says in its latest report that seven million will lose functionality when the 2G and 3G mobile communications networks are closed if they do not receive costly hardware upgrades. The billpayers will bear the cost of the hardware upgrades because anything else would come out of the bonuses of the chief executives of the former state-owned companies.
UK comms regulator Ofcom announced last month that UK mobile operators intend to provide something other than 2G and 3G mobile networks past 2033.
The switch-off will affect customers using older mobile devices and services." The PAC wants to know what the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) and energy regulator Ofgem are doing to plan the smooth running of a replacement scheme.
It asks them to set out "what they will do to ensure suppliers assign more importance than at present to replace those smart meters not functioning properly" and "a timetable for replacing the communication hub element of smart meters that will lose functionality when the 2G and 3G mobile networks are switched off."