SMETS2 smart meter
Tom Hames field metering engineer installs a phase 3 smart meter. Gloucestershire. 4 August 2020.

Britain’s first-ever polyphase SMETS2 smart meter was installed on Tuesday 4 August 2020 at a property in Gloucestershire, marking a significant milestone for the country’s transition to a smarter, greener energy system.

The device, installed by meter asset provider SMS plc for a customer of Good Energy, will provide homes and businesses connected to a three-phase electricity supply with the option of a smart meter.

Three-phase power provides heavy loads of electricity and is predominantly used by industrial and commercial (I&C) or high-usage residential sites.

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Designed by US-based smart infrastructure solutions provider, Aclara, the SGM1433-B (part of the SGM1430 polyphase family) is the first fully compliant and certified SMETS2 polyphase electricity meter for the UK market, and will deliver a solution for UK utilities to further automate the management of their meter assets at a total lower cost of ownership.

SMS has worked closely with Aclara and Smart DCC over the past 12 months in order to bring the meter to the UK market, performing a rigorous testing and verification process at SMS’s dedicated test lab in Bolton, Lancashire.

SMS has so far installed 1.27 million domestic smart meters on behalf of energy suppliers as part of the smart meter rollout and has a total of 3.74 million metering and data assets under its management.

The majority of UK customers have not been able to take advantage of smart meters, which automatically log energy consumption to facilitate accurate billing.

Smart meters are also an essential enabler of energy efficiency and green technologies – such as electric vehicles – that encourage flexible demand and help reduce carbon emissions and costs.

Sant Singh Smets 2 assets product owner prepares to install a phase 3 smart meter. Gloucestershire. 4 August 2020.

The development means that hundreds of thousands of customers connected to a three-phase supply across the domestic and I&C markets will now be able to join the UK’s energy revolution by having a smart meter installed.

As a second-generation smart meter (SMETS2) the new technology will allow customers – from homes and small businesses to organisations with larger and more complex electricity supplies – to connect to the secure nationwide network run by the Data Communications Company (Smart DCC), enabling seamless switching between energy suppliers.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as of 31 March 2020 there were 21.5 million smart and advanced meters operating in homes and small business, of which Smart DCC has confirmed over 4.6 million of these meters are SMETS2.

Jason Subirana, division vice president of Meters at Aclara, said: “With the introduction of this new polyphase variant meter, Aclara becomes the first and only company to provide a complete portfolio of SMETS2 electricity smart meters that our customers in the United Kingdom need to fulfil their smart metering mandates.

“This gives UK energy suppliers and Meter Asset Providers like SMS Plc access to a single-sourced, comprehensive solution that provides a distinct advantage in the marketplace.”

Dan Lambert, the CEO at the Data Communications Company, commented: “The DCC’s network is the digital backbone of the energy industry, and the smart meter roll-out is an essential part of Britain’s journey to net zero. Polyphase smart meters will make the DCC’s network available to even more homes and businesses, from farms to tech start-ups. We congratulate SMS plc and all those involved in making this greening technology a reality.”

Robert Cheesewright, director of communications at Smart Energy GB, added: “The introduction of polyphase SMETS2 smart meters means that many more people will be able to benefit from an end to estimated bills and can take part in the much-needed upgrade to our energy system. Smart meters are the building blocks of a cleaner, greener energy system that will help the country to integrate renewable energy sources and make efficient use of electric vehicles and green heating technologies.”

Juliet Davenport, the CEO, Good Energy, said: “The energy system of the future is one in which customers don’t buy power from suppliers like us. They generate, share and store clean power. To build that future, high energy load and complex grid connections have to be smart. It is brilliant to be leading the way with this big milestone on the road to a cleaner, greener future.”