A gaggle of MPs are calling for government to put together a timetable for the replacement of millions upon millions of smart meters that will be defunct when 2G and 3G mobile networks are switched off. 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 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 percent (roughly 32.4 million out of a potential install base of 57.1 million) homes and businesses. Of these devices, around 9 percent were not functioning properly.
The PAC says in its latest report: “A fifth more (an estimated seven million) will lose functionality when the 2G and 3G mobile communications networks are closed if they do not receive costly hardware upgrades (the cost of which will ultimately be borne by the billpayers).” UK comms regulator Ofcom announced last month that UK mobile operators do not intend to provide 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), as well as energy regulator Ofgem, are doing to plan the smooth running of a replacement scheme.
It asks both to set out “what they will do to ensure suppliers assign more importance than at present to replacing 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.” […] The PAC also want DESNZ and Ofgem to outline “measures to ensure that suppliers use future-proofed technology — for example, by excluding 2G or 3G connectivity — in all new smart meter installations.” And it wants the department and the energy watchdog to detail program costs to Parliament on an annual basis to inform decisions about the rollout.
Originally Posted at https://slashdot.org/