Written Answer from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero – smart meters

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (184254):


To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he plans to take to use smart meters to reduce peak time electricity demands. (184254)
Tabled on: 10 May 2023

Amanda Solloway:

Smart meters are making our energy system more efficient and flexible, helping us manage electricity demand at peak times. The half-hourly energy consumption information from smart meters is enabling innovative products and services for consumers such as ‘time of use’ tariffs, which offer cheaper rates when demand is low or when there is excess clean electricity available.

Smart meters have enabled National Grid ESO’s Demand Flexibility Service. This had positive results through savings to households in the form of reduced energy bills, and reduced energy usage during peak times which helped to balance the electricity network last winter. The ESO is currently undertaking a review to inform the future evolution of the Demand Flexibility Service.

The answer was submitted on 16 May 2023 at 15:46.


  1. Stred
    May 17, 2023

    Well, there’s a surprise. If there isn’t enough wind or solar and the nukes have closed, they can cut your consumption instead.

    1. Iain Moore
      May 17, 2023

      Yep, having made energy supply variable, as night follows day they had to get control of demand , the marketing for them was ridiculous …. ‘Oh you can watch your energy usage’ ….great, what fun, when it was always about being able to cut us off by the flick of a switch. They are going to have to fight to remove my old meter from my house, I will not willingly make my home vulnerable to the effects of their climate change Marxism.

      1. glen cullen
        May 17, 2023

        Under a commie Tory government, who’d believe it !

    2. Iain Moore
      May 17, 2023

      PS Bloomberg’s report on South Africa’s emission reductions is perhaps a little too revealing in what they have planned for us….

      /Bloomberg News: ‘South Africa Beats Climate Goal as Blackouts Slash Emissions’ – ‘Unintentional…power plant breakdowns are reducing industrial activity’ //

  2. Bloke
    May 17, 2023

    The answer has some good points yet those must have been known long ago, and been among the reasons why smart meters became policy in the first place. In the answer, ‘managing peak demand’ seems to refer to being able to maintain supply for balance during peaks. The question was about reduction. Reducing wasteful demand has more traction than spreading it out.

    1. dixie
      May 18, 2023

      But people don’t want to think about what they are wasting, much less worry about where the resources they utterly depend on come from.
      So I guess a fair step is to attach a personal cost to usage and personal wastage.

  3. Donna
    May 17, 2023

    Code for surge pricing and the ability to cut off your electricity supply when the Government or supplier chooses.

    Oh, and you have to pay for the power to run the Smart Meter 24/7, which gives them that control.

    1. Mark
      May 17, 2023

      You are correct. The recent scandalous publicity about the way in which several suppliers transitioned customers to a pre-payment basis on their smart meters by remote control without proper safeguards is still ongoing. In 2017 there were already some 3.2 million pre-payment smart meters, where customers get no supply unless their credit covers the standing charge as well as the power actually supplied. Those in payment difficulty can’t avoid standing charges without formal disconnection and then being faced with a substantial charge for reconnection, even if they cut their usage to zero for a period of days. There needs to be a system of garnishing benefits payments to cover standing charges, and OFGEM needs to revert to the previous formula for apportioning them, because now costs are loaded onto consumer bills that were formerly shared with generators in ways that gave generators some incentive to be more consumer friendly.

      The system for cutting supply house by house is in place, doubtless to be used in due course against people a future government disapproves of, in much the same way as Trudeau cut off the bank accounts of truckers and their families.

      Meanwhile the extension of half hourly metering into time of use tariffs may mean also significant price variations by location as well as by time. National Grid in particular are pushing for Locational Marginal Pricing, which could see cheap or free power on windy days if you live in Northern Scotland, but cost a fortune on a cold, still winter evening if you live in the London area – the compensation for demand reduction that I reported lower down was £3.31 per kWh and in reality attracted limited participation. Of course, individual pricing also allows for discrimination against people the government doesn’t like, or the supplier doesn’t like. We are already seeing this in other areas such as banking and insurance where ESG inspired decisions are being extended to individuals in some cases.

      The website that monitors the Octopus Agile tariff which is half hourly priced shows that most of last year prices were kept almost entirely close to the maximum. That still remains the case for peak prices, but they have been offering down to 20p/kWh in the middle of the night again recently – while wholesale prices have on occasion been negative when it’s windy. It doesn’t seem to produce competitive pricing.

  4. Original Richard
    May 17, 2023

    Page 19 of the Net Zero Strategy says our renewables will make our energy abundant and cheap. So what happened?

    If anyone wants to know what it’s like to live with intermittent energy check out a recent Telegraph report on life in South Africa.

    1. glen cullen
      May 17, 2023

      ”renewables will make our energy abundant and cheap” …for the energy provider not the consumer

  5. Winston Smith
    May 17, 2023

    We have had a Smart Meter for electricity for 3 years but we do not see how it has brought about any benefits to us. Maybe you are supposed to watch the Smart Meter all day and ensure yourself you are causing no untoward electrical use. Maybe the benefits lie elsewhere in enabling the grid to be managed more efficiently. Who knows?
    We also have had a Smart Meter for Gas for 3 years but it was never introduced to the Gas server so we still have to submit gas readings manually. I imagine the installers are making lots of money but really cannot see any benefit to households. Another waste of tax payers hard earned income?

  6. Ian B
    May 17, 2023

    Cloud cuckoo land speech and thinking

    1. Ian B
      May 17, 2023

      @Ian B
      Its just a fudge to get around the fact that after 13 years the only plan still is to import as much and be beholden to Foreign Governments to bail the UK out (Foreign Taxpayers own over 50% of UK so-called renewable’s, wind, solar. How many Foreign resources of Power does the UK Taxpayer own?, by Government decree the UK taxpayer its not even allowed to own its own, its own future.)

      Where is the self reliance and resilience in that?

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    May 17, 2023

    Why are government ministers incapable (or more likely unwilling) of answering a clearly expressed question? This government and parliament are not to be trusted. The interests of those whom they purport to represent are at the bottom of their list if even on it at all.

  8. George Sheard
    May 17, 2023

    Having a smart meter is the worst thing
    I have ever installed in my house the reading have been wrong and I am still getting estimate reading for my Bill’s
    They don’t save me money why do I have to
    Pay massive standing charges
    If a customer has gas and electricity with
    The same supplier they should only pay one standing charge,
    not a charge for the two meters as this costs hundreds of pounds per year
    thank you
    George Sheard

  9. a-tracy
    May 17, 2023

    We’ve had a smart meter for years; we’ve only been offered a cheaper night tariff in the last month after decades with the same energy supplier who has been taking the Michael with their loyal customers.

  10. glen cullen
    May 17, 2023

    Lets be honest, smart meters are only of benefit to the energy providers and government …smart meters do not reduce consumer domestic house bills, they just cut off your energy

  11. glen cullen
    May 17, 2023

    I see our government is still spending millions on TV adverts and cold calling customers to get a smart meter

  12. Bryan Harris
    May 17, 2023

    Smart meters are dressed up as a benefit to consumers, but this is totally misleading.

    Saving customers money is a red herring – the reason HMG is so keen to get smart meters everywhere is so that supplies can be selectively cut off at peak usage time or when a quota has been passed, or when the wind doesn’t blow!

    It’s all linked to the lunacy of net-zero, to make consumers effect of whatever plans HMG intends to impose on us, to deprive us of energy.

    Once smart meters are installed everywhere we will find a variety of tariffs coming in that will further raise costs and reduce supplies — Another con!

  13. APL
    May 17, 2023

    “Smart meters are making our energy system more efficient and flexible, ”


    ( 1) What is the overall cost of ‘smart meter’? programme? ‘SMART’, a misnomer if ever there was one. The GSM system many of the first and second generation smart meters rely on, is being phased out by the telecoms companies. (2) What is the extra cost of either upgrading these old installed meters, to make use of GSM 3 & 4 services?

    “helping us manage electricity demand at peak times. ”

    Dinorwig Power Station, was supposed to give fast response for peak demand. Also gas generation was also originally designed as fast response to peak demand. Now because of the idiotic self sanctions of the British deep state against Russian gas and oil we’re paying far too much for energy. By the way, the wholesale price of natural gas has dropped markedly recently, when will domestic energy bills return to the pre 2020 levels ?

    This bunch of numpties have been in power for the last decade, We should have had far more nuclear capacity constructed during that time, which might have been expected to be near completion by now. But no, muppets have been in charge of our strategic energy policy. And now the consumer is being financially crucified as a result.

    By the way, nuclear energy would have been quite consistent with net zero, if our politicians were interested in the Public interested instead of graft and corruption.

  14. Peter
    May 17, 2023

    Smart meters are another racket.

    Water meters were promoted as being ideal for single households. Once installed, future occupiers -maybe a large family -could not return to a standard charge.

    Thames Water recently forced the last holdouts to have meters installed, whether they wanted them or not.

    The purpose of meters is to take more money from the majority of water company customers.

    1. glen cullen
      May 17, 2023

      You can only apply for single occupancy discount if you agree to have a smart water meter survey …why is one related to the other ….maybe it is in a dictatorship netzero state

  15. Elli+ron
    May 17, 2023

    Typical green cult answer, instead of supplying sufficient energy to the country, they are trying to “manage” demand.
    However, this is “lipstick on a pig” solution, with wind & solar increasing the cost of energy making us poorer and chasing all industry away.

  16. Mark
    May 17, 2023

    In a piece of quite extraordinary magical thinking National Grid headlined their press brief on the results of paying bribes to persuade consumers not to use electricity

    Demand Flexibility Service delivers electricity to power 10 million households.

    This is utterly mendacious. They go on to say that over 22 events 1.6 million homes and small businesses were (paid for) not consuming 3,300MWh during the peak hours selected. The total is the annual consumption of about a mere 1,000 homes. They could have claimed it was the equivalent of average global electricity use for 3.6 seconds.

    The reality is that during demand peaks the average household is using much more than average because they are cooking supper, watching TV, washing the children’s sports kit, etc. The reality can be found by digging for data on Demand Flexibility Test Events (and live events). Then we discover that across 45 half hour periods the average “saving” was just 147.6MW or about 92 watts per participant – equivalent to switching off the TV, with the largest saving being 294.6MW on 23rd January, while the cost of £10.985m works out at an average of £3,307.87/MWh.

  17. glen cullen
    May 17, 2023

    SirJ could you perhaps let us plebs know when your government is going to make ‘smart-meters’ compulsory …like EVs, Heat Pumps and Carbon Capture devices

    1. dixie
      May 18, 2023

      Smart meters are already compulsory – over time.
      Energy providers are legally required to bill based on certified meters and there is a limit of 10-20 years on a meter’s certification period.
      We have just received notice that our meter is approaching it’s certification EOL.
      And Ofgem “requires energy suppliers to take all reasonable steps to install smart meters for all new connections and replacement meters at domestic and non-domestic premises.”

      1. glen cullen
        May 18, 2023

        Our MPs made a law against the will and wishes of the people ….thats not democracy

  18. Ian B
    May 17, 2023

    So in answer to the question, Smart Meters will reduce peak demand by cutting supplies to even out power usage over a full day. The quick way to NetZero halt use.

    1. glen cullen
      May 17, 2023

      The quick way to net-zero is for our government to switch off all energy supply ….an immediate gold star from the UN

Comments are closed.