Ofgem fights smart meter exception for small businesses

Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that government proposals to continue installing sub-smart “advanced” meters in non-domestic premises for 18 months beyond the current April 2014 deadline could put more than £4 billion of smart benefits “at risk”.


The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in an open letter proposed a rethink of an exception to the rules of the smart meter roll out agreed in 2009 to allow small non-domestic users to continue to receive advanced meters that would be replaced by smart metering at a later stage.


Ofgem has argued that such a move could jeopardise smart grid benefits that DECC’s own figure have at £1.5 billion between 2010 and 2020 with another £2.6 billion arising from 2020 to 2050. “Extending the advanced metering exception for electricity could put these benefits at risk,” the regulator claimed.


The original exception was justified as avoiding stranding the consumers’ investment in advanced metering.


DECC is now arguing that given the delay in availability of fully smart meters until the last quarter of 2015 “there are arguments for extending the period during which advanced meters may continue to be installed.”


But in its response the regulator said: “We believe there is no structural or regulatory obstacle that would necessitate an extension of the existing deadline.”


Advanced meters are defined as being able, at a minimum, to provide half-hourly electricity or hourly gas data that may be remotely accessed by a supplier and be available to the customer on a timely basis.