The Department of Energy and Climate Change has vowed to install smart meters in every home in Britain by 2020 and is consulting on how they will be rolled out.
Smart meters are widely considered necessary for a smart grid, which would enable dynamic demand variation of electricity supply as well as allow owners of microgeneraiton to sell electricity to the grid.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: “This is another part of our Great British refurb. The meters most of us have in our homes were designed for a different age, before climate change. Now we need to get smarter with our energy.
“Smart meters will empower all consumers to monitor their own energy use and make reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions as a result. Smart meters will also mean the end of inaccurate bills and estimated meter readings.
“This is a big project affecting 26 million homes, and several million businesses, so it's important we design a system that brings best value to everyone involved.”
The Government has set out different options for rolling out the kit across Great Britain and on what the smart meters should be capable of doing.
The preferred roll-out option is the central communications model - where energy suppliers are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the smart meter but the communication to and from the device is coordinated by a third party across the whole of Great Britain.
The other principal models considered are:
Competitive model - where energy suppliers manage all aspects of smart metering, including installation and communication.
Fully centralised - where regional franchises are set up to manage the installation and operation of smart meters with the communications to and from the meters managed centrally and on a national level.
Before smart meters are rolled out, there will be a detailed preparatory stage.