We take a in-depth look at how UK utility firm Scottish Power has implemented multiple initiatives with the aim of reaching smart meters installation targets set by the UK government.
Smart meter rollout deadlines
The UK government is aiming to have all gas, water and electricity consumers equipped with smart meters by 2020.
Utilities in the UK are expected to deploy over 53 million smart meters by the end of the decade with the aim of improving their billing accuracy as well as ensure consumers implement sustainable energy and water usage.
The smart electric meters are expected to ensure grid stability through utilities real-time management of grid networks and increased integration of distributed generation resources.
In its financial year statement, Iberdrola, owners of Scottish Power, announced that their subsidiary has in 2016 alone spent over £341 million ($423.2 million) in equipping its customers with the new metering system.
The capital is being used for smart meters installation as well as for setting up of communications infrastructure of the smart metering system.
Smart meters installation
The Courier UK reported that the utility firm has this year managed to install 100,000 smart meters.
Scottish Power said it plans to expand its workforce and smart meter rollout partnerships with the aim to increase its pace of installing smart meters to 2,000 units a day across England, Wales and Scotland.
Recently, the firm partnered with Actavo for rollout of some 780,000 units in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The Telegraph reported the utility’s engagement into deals with Lowri Beck, Providor and Amey to meet its smart meter rollout targets.
The partnerships are expected to add in 1,100 installers of smart meters to the already existing number of installers which the energy company has.
However, despite all the efforts to meet targets for installation of smart meters set by the UK government, Scottish Power has also highlighted its lack of confidence in reaching its targeted goals of 1.5 million smart meters by 2020.
The company has already included in its plans to install smart meters for part of its current customer base through to 2021, a year after the UK government set target.
The company said it will equip some 450.000 metering points in Northern Scotland, Wales and North West England with the new smart meters through to 2021. The smart meters installation in the utility’s three service regions will be done in partnership with UK energy consulting firm LakeHouse under a £37 million ($49.1 million) deal.
At the same time, the engineering firm said it will strive to help the utility to meet the deadline set by the government. [Analysis: status of and challenges affecting the UK smart meter rollout]
LakeHouse will direct a £1.5 million ($1.9 million) share of the deal’s total costs to increase its workforce.
Smart grid investments
Apart from investing on smart meters to improve network management for grid reliability, Scottish Power is also largely investing in smart grid and digital utility solutions as well as increase its clean energy generation portfolio.
Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer at Scottish Power said digital innovation is a key part of the firm’s long-term business objectives.
The utility signed an agreement with Vodafone for provision of a database that will monitor consumer’s energy supply and detect broken power lines.
According to the Telegraph, Vodafone’s energy network will instantly report faults on the more than 100,000 km of overhead and underground power cables operated by Scottish Power’s supply business, SP Energy Networks.
The project is expected to help Scottish Power improve its services to some 3.5 million consumers.
Scottish mobile and IoT specialist Waracle was also selected by the utility to develop new mobile and online services. The deal aims to improve the utility’s offerings to customers with and without smart meters.
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