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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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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Smart meter manufacturer Landis+Gyr has struck a major deal to provide EDF with a further 650,000 SMETS2 gas and electricity meters over the next four years. 500,000 devices. Landis+Gyr has been involved in the rollout since 2013 and is under contract to supply 22 million smart meters in total and has already delivered around 12 million.
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Code administrator Elexon has been selected by Ofgem as the senior responsible owner (SRO) for the implementation of Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS). Previous proposals had Ofgem as both programme sponsor and SRO. However in a consultation document the energy regulator unveiled plans to place responsibility for management and delivery of the programme with industry, with Elexon acting as SRO.
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Covid-19 had a “significant effect” on smart electricity meter installations in 2020, data from Electralink’s data transfer service team has found. In total, just under two million were installed across the 12 months, which is down 27 per cent on 2019 and the lowest number since 2016.
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Ofgem has proposed delaying an increase in the amount the Data Communications Company will be penalised by if it fails to hit performance targets. The regulator instead wants to see the different incentives put to trial before being properly implemented.
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Smart meter installations will still be allowed to continue despite the new national lockdown, the government has confirmed. Under previous restrictions, suppliers were only allowed to install the devices under exceptional circumstances, such as to ensure customers remained on supply.
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As the industry nears the original smart meter rollout end date of 31 December 2020, Utility Week speaks to observers from across the sector for their views on the missed deadline and whether the 2025 goal may suffer the same fate.
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