"Instead it is all wasted on helping the energy companies make more money and will make little difference to most peoples usage."
No it isn't helping us make more money. My employers are not making any money at all on the back of this. It is mandated by your good friends in the EU, and the clowns of Westminster and Whitehall have (as with all other matters) not had the spine nor sense to say "get stuffed" to Brussels. The power companies will be fined draconian amounts if we don't do as we're told.
The real cost savings are marginal, about £6 per meter per year, with an annual cash cost of about £25 per meter given that it is a £265 piece of kit, guessing it'll last an average of ten years before refurb or replacement. Even those cost savings have an offset (nationally) because if we don't have full employment, then there's welfare costs from anything that puts people out of work, and they assume that the capital is free. If you assign a value to the capital of say 5%, then your amortisation and interest take the meter cost to £40 a year, to save that £6 a year operating cost. Spending £40 to save £6 is only sensible if you're a bureaucrat spending other people's money. And better still, the £14bn cost of this government mandated scheme don't appear on the government's books - a tax that is hidden, wahey!
All the other "savings" are wishful thinking by DECC, in a "business case" that includes all manner of spurious and unlikely savings - for example, smart meters will make electricity theft less likely, reduced network losses (yeah!), over half a billion quid of savings from "reduced network investment through introduction of time of use tarrifs", reduced consumption because you have the option of a meter display on the wall, a billion quid of savings from "global CO2 reduction" and so it goes on. The business case probably comes from the same Booker fiction prize winning authors of the HS2 business case. It's worth searching for the highly critical NAO report on DECC's smart metering programme, and looking at the made up numbers (page 27 of the full report).
This is a colossal waste of money, deamt up by the eco loons of the EU. The money spent could useful be spent resolving the looming capacity gap, or even replacing all the coal stations that will run post 2015. And in fact, we could throw out this Chicken Little "climate change" claptrap, and stick with what we've got, rather than spend tens of billions that as a national we don't have, in a manner that will cause the remainder of British manufacturing to relocate elsewhere.