Renewed call for smart meters on E-Day

Today marks a new awareness initiative to reduce electricity waste by turning off unused technology, while organisers and environmental bodies call for more smart metering to show the real-time cost of energy use.

Users need to be able to read their gas and electricity use in real time, and more importantly, in real money.

A new generation of smart metering technology will allow users to monitor their energy consumption via handheld readers, their TV screens and via the web to see exactly how much they're paying to leave the light on all day or the computer monitor running all night.

Smart metering is being pushed by the Energy Retail Association, and comes after a YouGov survey revealed that 73 per cent of adults in Britain want to decrease their carbon footprint by cutting energy consumption.

In an effort to jumpstart personal energy consumption reductions, today has been declared "E-Day" and people across the UK are being urged to turn off all their unused devices for the day.

Matt Prescott, the organiser of E-Day, welcomed efforts by the ERA to make users more aware of their energy consumption. "I hope that it will not be long before everyone can make much more informed decisions in relation to their energy use," he said.

If the ERA has its way, the government will soon provide a legal framework to make smart meters available for use in 45 million households across the country. "It is only with a clear mandate that we can deliver this huge project in the most cost effective and efficient way," Duncan Sedgwick, chief executive of the ERA added.

Talks of distributing smart meters across the country come only days after the power supply company National Grid was fined 41.6 million for operating restrictive practices that were deemed to be holding back deployment of smart metering technology by penalising energy providers for replacing meters. Energy regulator Ofgem ordered the fine after determining National Grid to be using anticompetitive practices in the domestic gas meter market.

"The abuse has prevented suppliers from contracting with other companies for cheaper metering deals and could discourage suppliers from installing smart meters," Sir John Mogg, Ofgem's chairman said.

Ofgem believes the company has slowed innovation in the domestic metering market by "severely" restricting how suppliers can replace National Grid's older meters. Long-term contracts have prevented consumers from accessing newer, cheaper meters from National Grid's competitors.

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