“It is very useful for people running electricity companies that need to be able to get to know their customers’ usage patterns better and to have more time of use arrangements,” he said.
“I think the main motivation for electricity companies, as they can make very substantial savings, is that they don’t have to employ or sub-contract meter readers.”
He added that the electricity and gas providers would be able to reduce the “enormous number” of people in phone banks run, as estimated billing is ended.
“It is a very expensive IT programme and there is a long litany of IT failures with which government has been involved,” said Warren.
“One of the greatest difficulties does appear to be trying to set rules on technologies to be installed in a marketplace in which the technologies are changing so fast, so that information is no greater than a meter that was installed 50 years ago.”
Warren said countries such as Germany “took one look” at smart meters and decided that “the costs were far too high”.
“It is a very substantial amount of money for the consumer and adds to fuel bills…it is perfectly reasonable to ask the question, are we actually delivering the best bang for their buck?”