/ Home & Energy

Stop and rethink the smart meter roll-out

Last year your comments about the government’s plans to roll out smart meters leapt to our attention. Some of you clearly weren’t happy. Today we’re calling for the government to stop and review the roll-out.

Some of you were also upset with Which? – you wanted us to do more to challenge the government on its roll-out plans. Well we have.

We’re urging the government to rethink its smart meter roll-out until it has conducted an urgent review.

There were over 500 comments on last year’s smart meter Convos. Some of you stood up for the new technology and its roll-out into all our homes by 2019. But some vented your fury over the UK’s smart plan, with a key concern being the cost – projected to be at least £11 billion.

What a ‘smart’ community

As your comments poured in we decided to commission a thorough review. And while this research (carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Energy) was being put together we also made sure that other important bodies knew about your comments.

In one Conversation, someone said they didn’t think I existed! Well, I can assure you I do. Over the past few months I have attended meetings and industry events where I have stood up – not always to welcome attention – to say how many of you have told us on Which? Conversation that you’re concerned.

We also sent some of your comments to the Public Accounts Committee – probably Parliament’s most powerful committee of MPs – which has been investigating the roll-out. Industry and government reps have previously told me that it’s too early to discuss smart meters with the public, but I said that our Which? Conversation ‘smart’ community was well and truly up and running.

Energy suppliers read your concerns

One of the best moments for me was when I sat next to one of the top directors of a big energy supplier and saw him studying Which? Conversation on his laptop, rather than listening to the conference speaker.

He scrolled through cat avatars and the string of comments you had made. He would have read about your concerns that energy suppliers would benefit from the roll-out, but would consumers? He probably saw that some of you wanted more reassurance about health concerns and data privacy. And I really hope he read Chris’ comment:

‘I see no real harm in the concept of a smart meter, it’s this use for that £11 billion I’m not keen on, especially as times are currently tough. It would buy an awful lot of insulation.’

It’s time to press pause on the roll-out

Now Which? has said to the government that we think it’s time to stop the roll-out. The government’s current strategy is flawed and it must review its approach. We want the government to convince us that it will have full control over the roll-out’s costs, as we all have to pay for it.

And, as it stands, the roll-out is far too industry led, with the government seemingly crossing its fingers in hope that suppliers will install 50 million smart meters into all of our homes in the most cost-effective and responsible way. The energy companies need to be reigned in.

So, what’s the smart way forward? Stop the smart meter roll-out, government, rethink and demonstrate that you are leading this, not big businesses. As always, let us know what you think. We are listening.


Very good news. Perhaps the next step could be to encourage Ofgem to deal with some of the problems that energy companies are causing their customers.

jonny says:
15 January 2012

this is all very well & good, but do you not realise that these smart meters are going to need installation which means JOBS being created, & I am lucky enough to be one of those employed!

Well done Jenny and all of your colleagues at Which? This is, I am very pleased to say, the first time I have felt that Which? has demonstrated without caveat that they have taken seriously the concerns expressed by so many on SmartMeters …. and it’s a great feeling!

It gives me a lot of hope that you will now really fight for consumers on this issue, and a little glimmer of hope that you will also fight for us on other issues that have raised Convo Contributors’ blood pressure to boiling point such as CFL lightbulbs and misleading energy rating labels, especially on items like Boilers and Washers.

Excellent news for the new year. Well done.

As for Jonny’s point: I certainly have huge sympathy for anyone who finds their job is at risk (and I’m very worried about my job at the moment too so I really do know how you feel Jonny) but let’s remember that meter fitters (which is presumably what Jonny is from his comments) should never be without work if the energy companies are going to maintain their meter stock properly, irrespective of the type of meter involved. If Which? are successful in getting the situation reviewed it should not have any significant impact on meter fitting work unless the energy companies are going to be even more irresponsible and just leave meters to wear out, give inaccurate readings, become unsafe and refuse to maintain them. Most of us who are against the current SmartMEter programme are in favour of SMartMEters eventually anyway: we just want them to be rather different and paid for from energy company profits rather than by bumping up fuel bills or using general taxation revenue.

All in all, if Which? is successful, this should be good news for EVERYONE.

Wombat says:
15 January 2012

After Which’s successful campaign at eliminating debit card fees and replacing them with more expensive admin fees, I’d have thought Which? would give us consumers a break by properly thinking through the full consequences of their actions before jumping in with both feet.

Hi Wombat, sorry if you feel like that’s what will happen as a result of the card fees campaign, but it’s not in any way what Which? is aiming for, and nor is it likely. The aim of the campaign was to stop customers being hit with ‘rip-off’ card fees right at the end of the transaction. The fees themselves were unrealistic (it actually costs just 20p to process a debit card transaction, and some airlines were charging up to £8). Some airlines might try to rename them ‘admin’ fees (Ryanair calls its current fee an ‘admin’ fee) but as a direct result of the campaign, these fees will no longer be hidden right at the end of the transaction – you’ll be able to see the prices up-front and compare the true cost of (for example) flights, rather than comparing headline figures that look cheap but are then loaded at the end with unavoidable extra costs.

If you want more detail on it, there’s a Convo on it here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/mark-hoban-campaign-success-ban-credit-debit-surcharges/ A few people have raised similar worries in the comments, so it’s understandable that consumers are worried, but the ultimate result is that companies will have to include all costs up front, meaning consumers can compare the true cost of products. If a company wants to get more customers, they’ll have to bring down the overall cost of the product (or improve their product/service) rather than just ‘hiding’ certain elements of the total.

Give Which? a chance!

I am not afraid of telling Which? when I think they have sold out but in the case of the fees whilst it is, I agree, fully predictable that retailers will try to find ways to get around the changes, that is for the Government to anticipate and prevent with the law, not for Which? to control.

The changes to surcharges and the move on Smart Meters are big successes for Which? and where praise is due it should not be tempered or overshadowed like this.

I would like Which? to do more promotion of its successes, to raise awareness of consumer issues, get more subscribers to its publications and be able to fund investigation of more of the problems that so many of us spend our time moaning about. I believe that Which? should also acknowledge major contributions from other organisations pursuing the same objectives.

Thanks, wavechange! We try to do our best to show where we’ve had success, especially because usually it’s down to the help of lots of Which? campaign supporters. We posted this Convo recently which talks over a few of our key successes of the last year:


But we’re always looking for new ways to show people where they’ve really helped us make a difference.

I too would add my congratulations to Which? in its request that the Government rethink the roll-out.

On a similar vein I recently sent a query to DECC and received the following Verbatim response (last para) which I will hold them to;

“The Government expects the mass roll out of smart meters to start in 2014 and to be completed in 2019. Smart meters will play a crucial role in delivering a low carbon economy. The roll out of smart meters will deliver £7.1bn net benefits to consumers, energy suppliers and networks. Domestic customers will be provided with near real-time information on energy consumption via their smart meter and in-home display, enabling them to monitor and manage their energy consumption, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Bills will be accurate and switching between suppliers will be smoother and faster. New products and services will be supported in a vibrant, competitive, more efficient market in energy and energy management.

While smart metering brings significant benefits, it will not be an offence for householders to refuse to accept a smart meter and we have made it clear that we do not expect suppliers to seek an entry warrant simply to fit smart metering equipment.”

… I have to admit the bulk of the above is the spin of the industry rather than the interest of the consumer!

Excellent news in that last para – and very helpful that we have it verbatim and in the public domain. I too will certainly hold them to it.

For me this is the most crucial thing that is required: CHOICE.

Then those who welcome SM’s can have them, those who want jobs fitting them will be employed and those with worries can refuse them.

The next step with this specific point is to make sure that the most vulnerable and easily frightened in society understand that they have the choice and also to be certain that, UNLIKE water meters, if you move into a property with SM’s you can have them removed on demand.

A very positive step.

I would also add that I am awaiting a response to my subsequent query;

“Can you inform me of what the problem will be if my neighbours equipment interferes with my health and/or wireless access point?”

… based on the implied answer from them re meters will not be forced on people and I do not have one installed.

Many people worry about gas and electricity bills and although it is very easy to read meters, working out the cost of fuel since the last bill is difficult.

It would be good if we could enter our meter readings on a website to find the cost of gas and electricity used since the last bill. That could be set up even for those who do not manage their accounts online. I appreciate that it will not help those who do not have Internet access, but it could help many people. It would provide one of the key advantages of smart meters without the huge cost of installing them.

Encouraging people to enter meter readings regularly could help avoid poor estimates, another major problem for many people.

The Cooperative Energy is getting there on this one. You can supply meter readings on line as often as you like and it tells you how this period’s average daily consumption compares with the previous period. I don’t think it does a price calculation but because they don’t have tiered rates [after the flat standing charge] it goives a good idea of how you’re going. They incentivise customers to supply monthly meter readings with Coop points.

Full marks to the Co-Op.

I hope my own supplier (ecotricity) are reading thos and will follow suit.

What a simply wonderful idea!

Thanks John. Maybe other companies will do the same and generally become more customer focused. Happier customers mean less staff to handle the complaints. 🙂

I hope that energy companies are reading this forum, Dave. I have certainly mentioned Which? Conversation to e.on on more than one occasion. I am hopeful that they will become more customer focused because it is clear that they are keeping a record of my concerns.

I have never really thought about the issue of cost and alternative use of the money before.
Ir is a powerful argument that even 50% of the cost would buy an awful lot of insulation for every home in the country and possibly enable more to be spent on insulating the more difficult homes.
Roll-out of smart meters which I do not believe will save much energy could be linked to the planned replacement of meters which occurs every ## years at present or at the request of the customer.

Has anyone details of the £18.2 billion savings claimed by the minister. I suspect a large proportion of these will be claimed from “smart” meters goving consumers access to electricity consumption data.

I have a monitor I fitted myself for £20. Probably saves around 10% of electricity consumption. Purchased on a massive sacle they would cost maximum of £10 a throw. Probably less. For £300 million could be given to every home in UK.

what justifies the other £10.7 billion??

@Jenny – you say “and should bring down costs for the suppliers etc which – hopefully – will be passed on to us” – perhaps Which? should challenge the government and regulator to insist that ALL savings are passed on to the consumer is it will be he/she who pays for the meters.

I haven’t been following the Smart Meter topic diligently before now so apologies if my question has alrewady been covered. Am I right in thinking that the Smart Meter replaces the existing meter in the existing location? If that is the case I cannot see all that many people wanting to have one. Our modern house has the meters in recessed cabinets on the side wall accessible only from outside. Our relatives in a newer house have a gas meter outside in front of the house and an electricity meter hidden away at the back of a poky cupboard under the stairs. And in my mother-in-law’s old house in South London the meter is almost out of sight near the ceiling above the front door [electricity being a late arrival] and the gas meter is also high up in a passage requiring a step ladder to read it. These situations do not seem at all unusual. Do the authorities really think we are all going to clamber about checking our meters, or do the main supply meters transmit a signal to a monitor that can be positioned in a convenient place? If the latter is the case then the monitor should be capable of being programmed with the tariff formula [and ideally also up to three other tariff formulae from alternative supply companies] to produce useful data for the home economist. Perhaps this is how it’s all going to work and I should be very grateful for some information on the domestic practicalities.

… and they will be capable of remote disconnection and be subject to hacking in due course.

They will also provide the companies with detail of usage which in turn will indicate when someone is at home – there being a security issue with some of this.

@Jenny – are you not putting the +ve situation ONLY and not providing the pros and cons in a balanced way, especially as John has said he hasn’t been following the whole conversatio(s) around smart metering.

Steve says:
15 January 2012

I can’t get my head round this smart meter thing; it seems to me that the only beneficiaries are the energy suppliers as they don’t have to pay for meter reading. So the cost should be borne only by them. There will be no cost savings for the consumer as far as I can see. I did borrow an energy monitor from the library once; it was a bit of fun for a day or two but they cannot save any energy costs, that comes down to common sense. We all know that if you turn on a switch it will cost you money and if you turn it off it will save you money. We also know that an appliance with a heater such as a kettle or oven will cost you more to run than, say, a light or a radio. Once we have insulated our homes properly, replaced light bulbs and other appliances with energy efficient ones and turned off anything not in use there is very little else we can do. Smart meters are of little help for the consumer.

Steve – I gather that the main advantage of a smart meter (from the customers point of view) is to ensure accurate billing. I am sure there are much cheaper solutions.

I have to disagree with you about people understanding electricity consumption and turning off equipment that is not in use. I know many people who don’t have a clue and this is evident from messages posted on some of the Conversations (e.g. the person who restricted use of their radio to save electricity). Using a plug-in monitor that cost £9.99, I have found big differences between how much power equipment consumes in standby mode, even though I have had a good idea of what consumes most power since I was an inquisitive teenager who watched how fast the meter went round.

George Wood says:
15 January 2012

Smart meters are relatively expensive if you take all costs into account in a roll-out programme, such as the fitments per household and the central collector devices.
The simple truth is that Ofgem and DECC should have analysed the roll-out costs thoroughly and then given an honest appraisal to all consumers and given them an option to decide whether they should be installed or not.
Its a bit like the HS2 programme, many other countries have them, so the UK does not want to be seen as ‘tail-end charlies’ in installing them. The Department of Energy considers we have the best ‘free-market’ in electricity in the world!!! Ha, Ha, pull the other one, nobody believes this!!!
Will it be cost effective? Quite simply NO!!!
What will it cost per household? It has to be of the order of at least £200 per household as part of the total package in real terms.
Who will pay. The house owner will pay either directly or through their bills.
Are there any benefits:
There are some tangible benefits such as:
Switching heavy load devices in the home to help the control of electricity supply in emergencies and be rewarded contractually,
Possibly advice when the market price is high so that they can take action to reduce their consumption and be rewarded contractually for taking such action.
Are these cost benefits ever going to save the consumer £200 per household or whatever the true cost per household is going to be, quite frankly I personally cannot see ever a beneficial cost recovery for the roll-out of smart meters.
I expect there will be spin about the renewable energy benefits and dubious costings, just as we have experienced in the roll-out of the wind-turbines, both on-shore and off-shore.
Everything seems to be write a blank cheque, the end consumers will pay.
How can this roll-out be stopped or delayed, I personally don’t believe it can. This programme has all ready been signed on to and just as with wind-turbines, there’s no stopping it.
Even if there were a vote, the questions would be rigged. I personally have lost all faith in the politicians looking at these issues pragmatically, its been decided we are going to do it, how can we dupe the consumers into believing there’s a benefit?
George Wood

Economy 7 users currently have the night time rate until 08:30 in summer time (BST) because of the hour change, instead of 07:30 in winter. This is true of radio meters (controlled on national radio 4 long wave) and clock work meters, this is a benefit because a large amount of load is used getting ready for work using showers, boiling kettles etc, its not inconceivable that the supply companies could remove this with the introduction of smart meters because they could be programmed to be switched at 07:30 in summer

This is interesting. I was informed by Southern Electric [on the telephone and with a lot of back-office discussion] that the night rate in our area [Norfolk] applied 24.00 – 06.30 in Summer and 23.30 – 07.30 in Winter. Neither of these spells is a seven hour period! It’s possible they got it the wrong way round and meant 23.30 – 06.30 [BST] and 24.00 – 07.00 [GMT] but this wouldn’t correspond to the change to the clocks [which go forward when Summertime begins] or with Ian’s understanding of the situation where the lower rate is available much later into the morning. What is the official authority for the Economy 7 tariff? Perhaps OFGEM or DECC holds the clue.

In my youth I spent time as an investment analyst for one of the major oil companies. One of our often used phrases was “The base case is a straw man”. Many large projects were justified by comparing the situation after the project was implemented with the situation today. However detailed analysis often showed that most of the benefits could be obtained by spending only a small percent of the money. If the rest of the project was compared to the new base case it could not be justified.This was known as “The base case is a straw man”

Smart meters would appear to fall into this category as did the NHS computer project. Maybe Which could do the numbers for smart meters assumeing all households already have electrical energy monitors.

Simon Evans says:
16 January 2012

It is not a question of stopping and rethinking the rollout, but of rethinking the concept. Many commenters have underlined to Which? the problems of utilities invading our houses with monitors, which will enable them, or others, to determine energy usage patterns in detail, with possible grave consequences. I see nothing in your comments to government about he fact that smart meters are in fact remotely controlled power switches, which can ultimately give electricity companies the power to control appliances in the home (when “smart” appliances start appearing). I see nothing about the hugely expensive and poorly designed home area networks, which are a bonanza for the tech companies but replace Internet connections quite unnecessarily. Weren’t you listening to anything anyone said on these subjects? Did you notice that a segment of the population is worried about the very presence of wireless networks in their houses? And, lastly, had you not noticed that the claimed £7.1bn savings are pie in the sky, based on unrealistic and untested assumptions about the effect smart meters will have on power consumption. It seems that Which? has swallowed the government line on smart meters and not been nearly critical enough.


Hi Simon,

I think that the change as far as Which? is concerned is that they now have taken on board many of our points.

I agree that the savings are likely to be pie in the sky as no one knows what the future will bring.

I posted earlier a response from DECC which I had in which it was clearly stated that you will not be forced to have a smart meter. I do of course appreciate that the companies may therefore attempt to coerce you into having one by putting you on a tariff which is detrimental.

Here then is Which? s next challenge to ensure that people who do not want smart meters are NOT disadvantaged.

The main thing is that Which? is in contact with the government and pushing for a review of plans for the roll-out. It is important to save the huge cost of installing smart meters.

I would not be surprised if energy companies encourage us to have smart meters fitted by offering cheaper tariffs. You don’t have to have a Tesco Clubcard, but most people prefer to pay less and let Tesco have a lot of data.

@wavechange – Having a Tesco Clubcard doesn’t reduce the price of anything, all it does is earn you 1p (0.5p on petrol) for every pound you spend. You then get vouchers to exchange in Tesco to the value of your points every 3 months or so. So the money remains with Tesco.

What Tesco get is what the individual lets them have – history of purchases – and only then if the card is offered.

With Smart Meters you will be providing the data even if you do not want the companies to have that data. I do not see why the data could not be kept locally and that which I need to pay my bill released when I want to – hey its a bit like reading the meter and entering the data via the internet or phone.

The data being kept locally could still have the relevant tariffs updated by the utility so that you have real time detail of the cost of use and thus you can save by using the meters if you wish.

You don’t have to send this data at all to the company, indeed the meter could be so smart that it issues your bill directly to you and copy the supplier with the consumption.

LETS GET PARANOID: is it not feasible that the real reason they want these meters in place is that the government know they will be running out of power in the 2nd half of this decade and being able to switch off ones supply remotely will allow them to do phased power cuts – remember those?

The real reason the power companies want them is that they know no one will really reduce consumption and they gain solely by not having meter readers (which I rarely see these days anyway) straight saving to bottom line with the consumer (idiot punter) paying the cost of installation.

Yes, David, I know how the Tesco Clubcard system works and when you present the vouchers you pay less. No need to split hairs. 🙂

I’ve recently suggested that putting meter readings into a website could help people keep a track of the cost of their fuel consumption. Let’s not get paranoid but look for simple, inexpensive ways of achieving the benefits of smart meters without the need to install them.

I do remember the power cuts in the 1970s. Perhaps the only benefit is that it encouraged people not to waste electricity. We could save a lot of power by switching off lights in unoccupied public buildings, for a start.

George Wood says:
16 January 2012

Congratulations for attempting to bring a sense of reason to the roll-out of smart meters.
However, just like the issues with wind-turbines, where DECC is doing its damdest to convince the mass public that they save carbon emmissions and therefore are renewable energy. Well as more and more of these monstrocities are built the less the very efficient designed power stations as convertors of gas, coal and oil to electrical energy are utilised. These power stations have to remain in situ to supply regulating and back up reserves for the defficiencies of wind turbines. The resultant being that the carbon emmissions of these very efficient generators increase per unit of output and if you look at the BIG PICTURE, there is no resultant carbon emmissions savings. Therefore the wind-turbines, as a whole, have not resulted in any renewable energy benefits and yet they are blighting our beautiful countrysides and sea shores everywhere. What a total waste of time and space with the probable resultant that our electricty bills will have more than doubled when the roll-out completes.
What has this got to do with smart meters? Well actually quite a lot, it is the very same DECC that are pushing these developments and they seem to have been infiltrated by the same woolly thinkers as that for wind turbines, that we must have these smart meters just to be up to date. Well its a very costly up-to-date policy and the end payer will be the consumer, no matter what.
I evaluated such proposals for David Jefferries, retired chairman of National Grid, and concluded that there was no overall benefit to the consumer and now here we have the Department of Energy and Climate Change effectively mandating that every consumer will have to have a smart meter.
Dont be fooled, they are duping the public into believing their will be an overriding benefit, there will not and it will cost each and every consumer of the order of £200 for practically no return.
George Wood, retired senior technical and economic consultant, National Grid


Many thanks for that in-sight, seems to me the question is “Why do we need smart meters at all?”.

After all with the number of redundant/unemployed you could get them to read the meters whilst on Job Seekers allowance, gets them out and about, gives them exercise, contributes to society.

Benefit all round and the same saving for the utilities and a massive £11BN saving from everyones pocket!

George Wood says:
16 January 2012

We dont need smart meters, there is a saving by reducing meter readers but I noticed a security company is being deployed in South Warwickshire to read the meters, so why not optimise by the same group reading water and gas as well which would make meter reading far cheaper. I the roll-out bill is £11-billion, that would be £550 per household with an assumption of 20-million homes.
How can this cost be justified and who would pay the bill.
This is the very conclusion that I made to David Jefferies in the 1990’s when I was asked to assess a possible way of introducing smart meters, i.e. not justifiable.

The cost may well be dependent on the number of meters as well. I suspect that the cost is going to be between £250-300 per meter, so where you have a home with standard, eco7 and gas their notional cost could well be over £ 1000 since one unknown cost is the installation of the HID.

BTW as the expected cost reduction is based on having a functional HID did you examine the cost of replacement since I understand that there will only be a one year warranty, while you were making your recommendations?

In addition to smart meters for electricity, we could have smart meters monitoring our use and gas, electricity and water, and maybe even doing a time and motion survey to measure how much waste we produce. For the last time – no thanks.

I thought you might be interested in some of the responses to our call for a rethink of the smart meter roll-out.

Gearóid Lane, managing director of British Gas New Markets, has told the Telegraph:

‘Our customers have told us loud and clear about how they are benefiting from smart meters. Smart meters put an end to the frustration of estimated bills, give customers more direct control over their energy use and open the door to new energy saving technologies. There is more to smart meters than just cost savings, and any slowdown of this crucial investment will frustrate energy customers.’

Charles Hendry, the energy minister, has said: ‘As Which? themselves reported last week, the major cause of complaints to energy companies is poor and inaccurate billing. Smart meters will mean more accurate information and an end to estimated billing – so no more nasty surprises for consumers.

‘The benefits of smart meters are £18.1 billion for an £11 billion investment – that’s a £7 billion net benefit to the nation, and we want to realise it sooner rather than later.’

Again Hendry MP told the BBC: ‘The introduction of smart meters will unlock huge benefits for the UK, and the coalition government has published detailed plans showing how we will deliver this. The last thing we need is more dither and delay. We are determined to take the scheme forward, with ministerial oversight and safeguards for consumers built in.’

That’s fine if people are happy with their smart meters, but who has paid for them to be installed? The cost will have probably be met mainly by those who don’t have a smart meter.

Could I please have direct access to the MD British Gas New Business and Charles Hedry;

I want from them detailed documentation to support;

1. That the people using the meters currently have been told exactly what these meters are capable of including remote disconnect, who paid for the meter installation for those people.

2. I want from Charles Hendry a detailed worked business case showing how the introduction of the meters will benefit to the extent indicated in his statement.

I am not stupid and I agree with George Wood who is probably closer to the situation than the ministers and industry bodies, there is a con going on here and they are lying to justify the introduction.

Can I repeat the minister is LYING unless he can justify the savings fully – let him prove to me and I will back down.

Anon the mouse says:
16 January 2012

There are already proof of concept hacks for Smart Meters. Accurate enough to detect what you are using and even what you are watching on the TV.
That security hole would cost about £10 to fix. Do you really think they will secure your smart meter?

On top of that all houses will effectively be on a insecure network, with no antivirus, firewall, or IDS. One simple “hack” later and all the lights in Birmingham go out.

George Wood says:
16 January 2012

The mind boggles in whay Charles Hendry has quoted, £18.1 billion savings, thats an incredible £900 per household, my electricity bill all though having doubled is less than £500 which I hope to reduce to under £300, how could I or the majority of people benefit from a staggering £900. If we take a 10% cost of borrowing , that would still be nearer to £100 per annum.
These politicians dream these numbers up out of thin air just to spin their determination to implement this roll-out scheme. As I quoted in an earlier post, DECC are attempting to dupe the common sense public, just like wind-turbines and HS2.
We have become a dictatorial country led by politicians without substance.

I agree, however, if we do not have detailed worked business case then we do not know the timescales involved in this, it could be over half a century or more.

I think they are lying to force this through parliament and onto the populace.