Smart meter legislation needs to be introduced before the next general election to enable people to compare energy practices, according to the head of the Energy Retail Association (ERA).
The next general election has to be held in the first half of 2010 and ERA chief Garry Felgate said December's pre-budget report should contain an announcement regarding smart meter legislation, reports Scotland on Sunday.
Government plans involve spending nearly £10 billion on a nationwide smart meter roll-out by 2020, but no specific details have yet been announced.
Mr Felgate told the website: "Rolling out smart metering is an enormous task - fitting meters to 26 million households before the UK government's target of 2020. The most important service for customers will be that their bills will be accurate."
He added that the roll-out could be the most significant development in the UK energy industry since gas was discovered in the North Sea.
Energy suppliers stand to benefit from smart meters as well, as they will no longer have to send out staff to read meters.
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