by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions
According to SmartEnergy GB: “Smart meters will help us get Gaz & Leccy under control.”
Unfortunately, SmartEnergy GB, the organization responsible for promoting the rollout of smart meters in Great Britain has lost its chairperson just weeks after she raised questions on how the government-led program was being run.
According to the BBC, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd refused to support the reappointment of Margaret McDonagh, the inaugural chairperson of Smart Energy GB.
Phone Call Termination
It is understood that Baroness McDonagh heard the news that she would not be continuing in her role during a phone call with the energy secretary late on Monday afternoon.
Two weeks earlier she had called for the government to appoint a chief executive from the private sector to run the huge smart meter rollout project.
“As we know from experience, governments are not good at big infrastructure projects because it’s not their business” she said.
The government rejected that call and in a statement posted on the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) website, Ms Rudd thanked Baroness McDonagh for her service and contribution to Smart Energy GB.
According to an email reviewed by the BBC, “the secretary of state has decided to exercise her power to reject the renewal of Margaret McDonagh for a second term as non-executive chair of Smart Energy GB.”
There Are Substantial Program Concerns Outside the DECC
Some in the energy industry have voiced concerns over the latest move.
“She said there is a problem – two weeks later she’s fired,” a director at a Big Six energy firm told the BBC. “What does that mean for people who raise questions about the smart meter programme? That is the issue.”
From a larger perspective, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has warned that the smart meter scheme could be an “IT disaster” saying that the risks involved with “the largest government-run IT project in history” were “staggering.”
According to Nick Hunn of WiFore Consulting:
“DECC, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, have spent much of the last five years fending off criticism and fighting Freedom of Information requests to explain how they came up with their figures justifying the British smart metering programme.”
“A further nail in the coffin of DECC optimism came … when the highly respected Institute of Directors’ Policy Unit issued a scathing critique of the programme in “Not too clever: will Smart Meters be the next Government IT disaster?,” which goes as far as to suggest the best course may be to abandon the programme altogether.”
“Faced with previous criticism, the mandarins at DECC have just reached for their lemming suits and put on a further pair of renewable rose-tinted spectacles, chanting their mantra of ‘all done by 2020’ loudly enough to drown any other voices. The IoD and parliamentary report suggest that’s no longer an allowable defence.”
Also recall another recent article published at this website: Hundreds of Thousands of Smart Meter Billing Issues in the U.K.
It appears that the DECC will simply remove anyone from their ranks that even remotely questions the wisdom of the UK’s smart meter debacle. At this point I doubt there is anyone outside the DECC who really thinks the currently planned smart meter program is a good idea. Here is some advice to the DECC: Please “Stop and Think” about what you are doing before you completely sink the ship.
As somewhat humorously articulated by Nick Hunn of WiFore Consulting (as he renames Gaz & Leccy as FATZ and DECCY):
“The UK Government has enlisted two cartoon characters – FATZ and DECCY to explain the need for smart meters to a skeptical public.
FATZ – the corpulent blue one, represents the cold, uncaring fat cat executives of the energy industry, eager to take still more of your money, while the manic yellow DECCY represents the seriously scary civil servants of the Department of Energy and Climate Change who have been tasked with dreaming up the world’s most complicated and unworkable smart metering specification.
Their bulging eyes and demented smiles tell the average consumer all they need to know about the UK smart metering plan and the mentality of the people behind it.”
Cartoon Approach to Smart Metering
Source Material for this Article
“Smart meter scheme loses chairman Baroness McDonagh,” at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33336730
“UK’s controversial smart meter scheme loses chairman,” at http://diginomica.com/2015/07/01/uks-controversial-smart-metre-scheme-loses-chairman/
“Chair legs it from UK govt smart meter installation programme,” at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/02/chair_gone_uk_smart_meter_installation
“Pressure grows to stop GB Smart Metering,” at http://www.nickhunn.com/pressure-grows-to-stop-gb-smart-metering/
“FATZ and DECCY – the UK’s cartoon approach to Smart Meters,” at http://www.nickhunn.com/gaz-and-leccy-the-uks-cartoon-approach-to-smart-meters/