The government is to extend the deadline for energy suppliers to install smart meters in homes by four years to 2024.

The extension, included within a consultation document published yesterday, ends months of speculation that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) would relent amidst mounting pressure from suppliers that the current 2020 deadline was impossible to reach.

Cost projections for the rollout have also soared to at least £13 billion.

BEIS said that while the current 2020 obligation had helped the rollout “set out the foundations and capability” to build a national smart meter infrastructure, the time was right now to move “away from a framework with a high degree of flexibility” and implement a more clearly defined one.

As a result, BEIS said it would not be extending the current framework beyond 2020 but instead replace it with a new supplier licence obligation that would come into effect from 1 January 2021, aiming towards suppliers completing the roll-out “as soon as practicable” with a monitoring framework lasting until 31 December 2024.

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