Skip To Content

Your browser is out of date, please upgrade it.

An ode to the meter

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has today announced she is writing her most unusual piece yet, an ode to the meter, which will be published to mark the passing of traditional gas and electricity meters, the coming of smart meters and the end of estimated bills.

Since her appointment as Poet Laureate by the Queen in May 2009, Carol Ann Duffy has written verse for significant national occasions such as the ‘Last Post’, which marked the deaths of Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, the last two British soldiers to fight in Word War I, ‘Achilles (for David Beckham)’ about the Achilles tendon injury that left England footballer David Beckham out of the 2010 World Cup and ‘Rings’ for the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. 

The replacement of old gas and electricity meters with smart meters in every British home and small business by 2020 is the latest moment of historical significance recorded by the Poet Laureate. Carol Ann Duffy, who has been working on the as yet untitled poem for the last few months, will publish it later this summer. 

Late last year (November 2015) the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed ‘A Requiem for Meters’, a three-minute piece of music played entirely on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. The Requiem was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and released for free on Spotify to raise awareness of the coming of smart meters.

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB, comments: “There is a great British tradition of marking national moments with poetry. Carol Ann Duffy, as our national Poet Laureate, is the perfect person to express the significance of the demise of traditional meters and the transformation that will come about as a result of smart meters.”

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, comments: “Gas and electricity meters have been a fixture under stairs and in cupboards for more than a hundred years so it felt fitting to preserve their place in household history with a poem. It is definitely one of my most unusual projects, but hopefully I’m able to produce a piece that captures the last whirs of these spinning machines before they make way for their digital counterparts.” 

More than three million smart meters have already been installed across Great Britain. Eight in ten people with smart meters would recommend one, with 85 per cent saying that they have a better understanding of what they are spending on energy. Four in five (80 per cent) of people with smart meters say they have taken steps to save energy such as turning off lights, turning their heating down or changing the way household appliances are used.

– Ends –

For more information and interview requests, please contact the Smart Energy GB press office at Shine Communications on 020 7100 7100 and [email protected]

Notes To Editors

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the national campaign for Great Britain’s smart meter rollout. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign has already begun and will reach all households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. 

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters will replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They will provide consumers with accurate bills, near real time information on energy usage in pounds and pence, and greater control over their gas and electricity. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure. Between now and 2020, everyone across England, Scotland and Wales will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier at no extra cost. More than three million smart meters have already been installed. To find out how you can get a smart meter from your energy supplier please visit