The smart meters programme is designed within the legal framework for the GB energy market. This is based on energy companies competing against each other to supply energy to consumers.
The Government is requiring all energy suppliers through their licence conditions to deliver smart metering. The energy companies have strong commercial incentives to do this as efficiently as possible, all along their supply chain.
Ofgem is responsible for regulating the energy market and is able to intervene where suppliers do not meet their licence conditions. In addition, the Data and Communications Company is regulated by Ofgem to ensure that its services are provided in an economic and efficient manner.
The Government is monitoring progress by all parties on whom the smart metering roll-out depends, to ensure benefits to consumers are delivered.
There is a strong business case for rolling out smart meters. The total cost of this national infrastructure programme needs to be looked at in the context of its overall net benefits, expected to be around £6 billion.