Last night consumer experts described the smart meter roll-out as a “cock up” while sources at major energy firms admitted the cost was “spiralling” despite customers receiving “sub-par experiences”.
Until now the Government had presumed that the problem of “first generation” meters going dumb would be fixed as they could easily be connected to the system through simple computer programming.
But now it has emerged that many are incapable of being adapted to the central system, meaning they will have to be replaced.
It has also emerged that an unknown quantity of other meters may require expensive engineer visits to be brought onto the system.
To avert a potential multi-billion pound blow the operator behind the scheme is mulling various IT solutions. But even a programming overhaul would come at a cost of £500m, according to a consultation paper seen by the Daily Telegraph.
Meters not connected to the system “go dumb” when consumers switch energy suppliers to get a better deal, meaning they are no better than traditional meters as customers have to rely on estimated bills.
Did they really install millions of dumb smart meters?