Caroline Flint

Standing up for Don Valley.

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Flint takes Tories to task on smart meters as first MP ever to ‘guest’ on committee

Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, made parliamentary history today as she became the first MP to guest appear on a select committee of which they are not a member.

Flint appeared on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee to take Energy Minister Claire Perry to task over the Government’s rollout of smart meters.

The Government’s smart meter roll out, which was intended to install a new digitised meter in every UK home by the end of 2020, has been dogged by delays and cost over-runs.

Only 25% of households have had a meter installed, and the programme is forecast to overrun by at least £500million.

12 million meters have been installed but will need to be upgraded or replaced. One million can no longer be used when customers have changed supplier.

Energy suppliers are required to offer energy saving advice when installing a smart meter – but they have failed to offer advice to one in three households. Giving consumers advice on how to save energy can boost savings when using a smart meter by up to two thirds.

Said Ms Flint, speaking after the committee hearing: “I was delighted to become the first MP to ‘guest’ on a select committee.

“Committees are often the best place to get things done in Parliament, and being able to directly question those responsible for the failings of the smart meter programme is a good step towards fixing the programme’s problems.

“We all want to enjoy the benefits that come from smart meters – ending estimated bills and making energy savings. But there are too many problems as it stands.

“The Government needs to get a grip, ensuring value for money for consumers who are footing the bill.

“I thank my parliamentary colleagues in the BEIS Committee for inviting me to be their first guest member and look forward to reading their report and recommendations.”

You can watch the committee session here

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