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Smart meter ‘surge pricing’ warning: Ofgem green lights major change for millions of Brits

David Lammy praises France’s response to energy crisis

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Smart meters will reportedly undergo a massive change and automatically send suppliers updates every 30 minutes on customers’ power use starting from May, the Telegraph has revealed. In May, energy regulator Ofgem will be given the green light to change the way smart meters work, possibly paving the way for “time of use” tariffs.

This could see customers charged different rates for energy throughout the day depending on demand, industry experts have claimed.

Such a system could see households pay more to use electricity at peak times, however, energy bosses have insisted the move will be optional for customers and even stated it will save money.

Currently, homes with a smart meter typically must submit readings once a month.

However, households can opt-in to have their energy usage measured automatically every half hour.

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The Telegraph has reported the change to 30-minute updates will be the default by May, with the option to opt out.

An Ofgem spokesman told the broadsheet the move is a step towards a greener UK.

They said: “This major system upgrade is a significant milestone on Britain’s path to net zero.

“It will enable a more efficient, flexible and greener energy system which will save billions of pounds per year on all consumers’ energy bills.

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“Ofgem will work closely with industry to make sure it delivers this major upgrade while ensuring those in vulnerable circumstances remain protected.”

Ofgem’s website describes smart meters as “a key enabler for the transition to a more flexible energy market and the delivery of net zero”.

It explained the “near real-time information” they offer will allow consumers to “better manage their energy use, save money and reduce emissions”.

On Wednesday, Octopus Energy chief executive Greg Jackson told the Telegraph: “This change would be extremely good for consumers.

“I cannot imagine that any energy company is going to force time of use tariffs on customers, so it is like the reduced yellow-label food items at supermarkets.

“People who want a bargain can grab them, while everyone else benefits because it reduces waste.”

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