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 HRH The Queen in May 2009, Glasgow-born 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 significant moment 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.