Smart meter inflation

  • Date: 14/08/17

Shortages of qualified engineers driving costs up further

Wages are rising steeply for engineers who install smart meters as energy companies struggle to recruit enough staff, threatening to further inflate the costs of the £11 billion scheme.

Salaries have risen by as much as a fifth within less than a year as suppliers prepare for the widespread rollout of the meters, which take automatic readings of gas and electricity usage. The government wants every home to have one by 2020.

Consumers pay for the scheme through levies on their energy bills and suppliers have already warned that it is pushing up costs. British Gas said the scheme was one of the factors behind its 12.5 per cent electricity price rise.

A senior source at one supplier told The Times that wages had increased from £27,000 to between £32,000 and £33,000 in the past year and bonuses could raise that to £36,000.

“There’s not enough people in the UK skilled with the ability to install gas and electricity meters,” the source said. “Demand is outstripping supply. Installers are jumping between companies, going to the highest bidder.”

At the same time, not enough meters were being installed each day to hit the target because of a lack of interest from customers. “Most of them don’t speak to us at all, they just don’t answer the phone,” the source said.

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