Energy companies are trying to block a government proposal to install energy display monitors in every home. The displays would be linked to a smart meter to tell people how much their energy is costing them.

According to a report in The Times newspaper, the Energy Retail Association (ERA) is lobbying ministers to in an attempt to scupper the proposal that a digital display unit should be installed in every home. The association represents energy suppliers including E-On, EDF, British Gas, Scottish and Southern Energy, and NPower.

The wireless displays can be moved anywhere in a home to allow people to see the energy savings that could be obtained by not leaving a TV on standby for example. The units are claimed to help people reduce their fule bills by between 5 and 15 percent.

The ERA's members do not want to be restricted to one type of display

The Local Government Association has accused the ERA of trying to sabotage a proposal that would save people money by saving energy and help reduce the amount of CO2 emitted.

Joel Hagan, chief executive of energy display manufacturer Onzo, said: “We need smart meters in the UK because they will enable more accurate and more frequent billing, and because the cost of the billing process will be reduced. We also need display monitors because they make it possible for consumers to access information that will help them understand and change their energy use”.

He added that a consumer body has aleady highlighted that utilities already stand to benefit from the introduction of smart-meters: “Which? Has already pointed out that there is a serious risk that costs and benefits of smart metering roll-out in the UK will be shared unequally between utilities’ shareholders and their customers”.

The government is set to install a smart meter in every home by 2020