Just Tories looking after their friends in Industry
Britain is almost unique in expecting users to pay for their own meters.
The old boys, down at the club, must be buying their Tory MPs endless rounds of drinks over this one!
In the USA, and Canada, heavy adopters of these technologies, the power companies install these meters at their own cost. And these things either employ MESH radio or wire communications.
Adafruit, NYC, has a neat jammer - http://www.ladyada.net/make/wavebubble/ - that will fix the MESH radio and ferrites, around the power feed INTO the meter, will stop the signals dead.
Developers in Toronto, Ontario, have gone one rip-off better - METERED HOT WATER. The catch? Any water, regardless of temperature, flowing out of any 'hot water' tap costs money!