Smart metering

The smart meter project has come under increasing scrutiny, with the deadline to offer one to every home just over a year away. All eyes are now on the new government's approach to the project and when a new deadline is likely to be set.

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Macquarie has sold its more than 600,000-strong industrial and commercial smart meter portfolio Cortex Metering Solutions. Cortex, which rents out the devices to more than 80 energy suppliers, has been acquired by multi-utility metering and data services business Energy Assets Group.
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Smart electricity meter installations have rebounded in Great Britain following the success of the Covid vaccination programme, according to the latest figures from Electralink.
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More than 7 million second-generation SMETS2 smart meters have now been installed in Great Britain, the latest figures from the Data Communications Company (DCC) show. According to the DCC’s website more than 3.8 million first-generation SMETS1 meters have been migrated onto its system, meaning they are interoperable.
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An “interoperability checker” allowing SMETS1 smart meter customers to check if they can switch supplier and retain smart functionality is due to be launched by the Data Communications Company (DCC). It is proposing a system which would give secure, free access (or at cost) to system data from its platform.
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There was a “significant increase” in the proportion of complaints about smart meters in the final quarter of 2020, Ofgem’s latest consumer perception survey has found. It comes as the government published the latest smart meter installation figures, revealing that 3.2 million smart and advanced meters were fitted during 2020.
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Octopus Energy has revealed it has started offering customers working from home the use of a battery to power their wifi during smart meter installations. The large retailer, which recently surpassed 2 million customers, said it has seen a number of customers cancel their installation appointments as they did not want their wifi to be switched off during the process.
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The energy sector must learn lessons from the smart meter rollout when implementing technical standards for future smart home energy technologies, industry observers have warned. A recent roundtable hosted by DevicePilot, a service monitoring platform for connected devices, discussed the future of the home energy market, which innovations are set to have the biggest impact and what effect this will have on the UK’s net zero goals. Several attendees reflected on how the smart meter rollout has panned out and offered their thoughts on what can be learned as homes adopt smart technologies.
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A report by a coalition of industry experts has recommended the creation of a new protocol for measuring energy savings in retrofitted homes in real-time. The Green Finance Institute’s Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings says a national, standardised way to measure the energy saved by retrofit works is “vital” to unlocking up to £65 billion of investment needed to decarbonise the existing building stock.
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After a turbulent year for energy companies, what lessons can the sector learn from the smart meter rollout? Simon Egan, managing director for the UK, Ireland and Netherlands at Landis+Gyr, believes the devices have a key role in helping millions of consumers who have shifted to home working take control of their energy use. Egan further describes how innovative new finance models are helping smaller suppliers increase their market share of meters.
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Centrica has unveiled plans to recruit 1,000 apprentices over the next two years after its chief executive admitted the company had “underrecruited” in recent years. The British Gas owner, which currently employs around 20,000 people in the UK, says its new apprentices will become smart energy experts who will install smart meters and provide energy efficiency advice to customers.
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A total of 10 million smart meters have now been connected to Britain’s national secure network, the Data Communications Company (DCC) has announced. Since the start of the pandemic last year more than 5.5 million smart meters have been connected to the network. Angus Flett, DCC chief executive, said the latest milestone showed the rollout was reaching "critical mass".
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The UK government’s approach to continuing the smart meter rollout under lockdown has been challenged in Scotland and by a trade union. While non-essential installations are continuing in England, they have been suspended north of the border, sparking fears over the knock-on effect on the already pressurised timeline for the UK-wide rollout. Meanwhile, the GMB has demanded the government changes guidance so meter readers are not forced to go to work.
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