Energy suppliers should be pressed to ensure that businesses and consumers are offered ‘a range of flexible, fair and affordable tariffs’ as part of the move to smart metering, according to a submission by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) to a government consultation on smart energy.
Business and consumer bodies, including the Institute of Directors and Which?, have previously raised concerns over the potential increase in customer energy bills following the installation of smart meters.
In addition, the ECA response also highlighted a potential ‘huge missed opportunity’ within the government’s smart meter plans – specifically that contractors are currently prevented from providing broader energy efficiency advice and solutions to businesses and consumers during the installations.
The ECA’s Head of Energy Solutions Bill Wright commented:
“The importance of a smart energy grid cannot be understated – it would provide a compelling answer to some of the challenges we face today about energy usage, cost and security.
“However, it is vital this once in a generation opportunity is not wasted, and that means ensuring business and consumer bills are fair, and that installers can offer comprehensive energy advice to their customers.”
The ECA response also highlighted the need for the government to increase the thresholds at which energy suppliers can charge businesses for supplying additional power to the grid – a key step if energy storage is to become commonplace across the energy market.
Furthermore, the ECA urged the government to take steps to protect the smart energy system from cyber attacks, by ensuring that a ‘back-up’ supply of energy can step in during any outage.
Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) held the consultation with industry on developing a smart and flexible energy system.