So many supposedly IT savvy people on this site showing a fair bit of paranoia about smartmeters.
Sounds like in the UK, the roll out has not been helped by government intervention and the costs don't sound right, but regardless, everywhere else in the first world, the old electromechanical dial meters are being replaced with smart devices just as old rotary dial telephones were swapped out in the past. Any other industry, where sticking to spinning dials is seen as better than microprocessors?
Having worked in the industry, being able to set up a bunch of registers and calculate consumption as/when required and get readings when needed such as when customers move in/out, makes accurate billing systems much easier than some person having to visit the property, avoid the dog, unlock gates etc every couple of months. When human meter readers miss readings or get them wrong, then the billing system has to estimate over many months, and algorithms then get very hit and miss. The cost of sending a person to do a special (out of cycle read) is very high compared with smartmeter costs.
Compared with a single or day/night non-smart meter in which the cost per unit has to be some average value that does not reflect the actual cost to supply power (which varies a lot between peak and off-peak), having a smartmeter has advantages to customers and electricity retailers.
Reading a lot of comments, so much misunderstanding from people who just don't know anything about these systems. Really think they will cause cancer, scare the horses, allow your local burglar to hack your account before breaking a window?
Here in NZ and in other countries, I can check consumption via an app, switch retailer and just don't see any problems either as a customer with a smartmeter, or when I used to work on utility billing & meter reading systems. Your mileage may vary, but generally smartmeters are a useful if minor incremental improvement to a complex electricity supply system that generally works so well that people don't notice how good the system is.