The Data and Communications Company, responsible for operating a data and communications hub at the heart of the smart metering system, has finished designing and building the communications infrastructure but testing of the systems is ongoing, the Department for Business, energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.

The infrastructure had been expected to depart live on Wednesday, according to a report by the BBC. BEIS confirmed that the system is now expected to be operational at the finish of September. It said the postpone will not grasp up plans to install smart meters in homes and businesses across the UK by the finish of 2020.

According to the latest government statistics, there are over 3.6 million smart and advanced meters operating in homes and businesses in big Britain.

A BEIS spokesperson said: “The roll-out of smart meters is the unit of the most significant upgrades to Britain’s energy infrastructure making it fit for 21st century life. The recent infrastructure is planned to depart live at the finish of September, it is currently being tested to deliver a drawnout-lasting, earth class system to bill payers. In the meantime energy suppliers persevere to drive forward the programme, rolling out more than 3.6 million smart meters to homes and business across the state.”

energy expert Nick Shenken of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that it the postpone in the operation of the DCC’s communications infrastructure is “likely to be met with industry frustration”. He said it is important that “the postpone isn’t allowed to drift further”.

“This isn’t fair about rollout targets being achieved, it’s about consumers having the benefit of the associated technology as quickly as possible,” Shenken said. “Those benefits may be as simple as ensuring they don’t own estimated bills going forward, but it’s equally important for future benefits which will be realised as we transport towards concepts such as period-of-operate tariffs.”

“We are currently developing a number of solutions with clients related to lofty volume deployment of decentralised energy generation infrastructure coupled with battery storage propositions. Consumer benefits from such solutions will be enhanced even further with the benefits of smart meters so it’s to be hoped that there is no further postpone in providing the underlying infrastructure allowing smart meters to offer the considerate of advantages which own been advertised by government,” he said.