I blogged last month about the UK smart metering project and the fact that UK consumers are not really behind the project.
This sounds like a recipe for failure, especially when you consider that fuel costs will increase in the short term and unless citizens are educated about energy efficiency and have efficient and smart devices, the smart meters will not lead to any savings.
The Government's Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP) aims to have smart energy meters in 30 million homes as well as businesses by 2020. It is part of the UK Smart Grid project and will require substantial contributions from the IT sector.
I likened the project to the NHS National Project for IT (NHSPfIT). Mainly because that was a huge IT project that ultimately failed. Some say it was too big to succeed.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has now reported on the project and its comments made me feel like reiterating my feeling that the Smart Grid project could be as difficult as the NHS NPfIT.
This is what Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, had to say:
"Smart meters could help us all cut our energy consumption but government's track record on delivering large programmes is patchy at best. At the moment the estimated cost is £11.3 billion, but all our experience suggests that this budget will be blown.
Also, for the money spent to provide value, we all have to change the way we behave. It is not clear how the Department will stimulate this behaviour change. And, as technology changes, the Department will have to be properly flexible to respond with up-to-date technology for the smart meters. These uncertainties can drive up costs more than planned.
We will keep a close eye on project progress, and would urge the Department to address the risks identified in this report."