(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of the first DECC annual progress report on the roll-out of smart meters.
Smart meters have the potential to transform consumers’ relationship with energy bringing considerable benefits for both them and the energy industry. Smart meters will for the first time put consumers, who are at the heart of the roll-out, in control of their energy use, allowing them to adopt energy efficiency measures that can help save money on their energy bills, offset price increases and reduce carbon emissions.
The annual report provides an introduction to smart metering and its benefits to consumers, the energy industry and Great Britain as a whole. It describes the early work that is already being undertaken by the Government and the energy suppliers during the Foundation Stage of the roll-out, to help prepare for the start of mass roll-out towards the end of 2014. This early work will help to ensure that everything is in place to handle a roll-out of this scale (over 50 million meters to be installed in 30 million premises) and that consumers will have a good experience, which is crucial for realising the benefits. Energy suppliers are already testing and trialling the new technology and some consumers are already receiving smart meters from their energy suppliers and starting to see the benefits.