Jersey has become the first British jurisdiction to complete its smart meter rollout after accelerating the final phase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final phase of the six-year £10 million ($12.69 million) SmartSwitch programme was the replacement of 4,300 prepay or as otherwise known, pay-as-you-go meters. With the onset of the pandemic, this phase was accelerated to support customers in isolation so they or family members could easily top up the meters, the company says in a statement.
Jersey Electricity says that SmartSwitch was complex both technically and logistically. It involved the sourcing and manufacture of meters designed to work with Jersey’s low carbon heating tariffs, the use of PLC to transfer data, and an internal fibre network and wide area network which when combined, comprises the biggest network on the island outside the telco business.
Benefits accrued so far include an end to meter reading at customers’ homes, the elimination of around 8,000 estimated reads per year and an end to pro-rata billing when tariffs change. Bills are provided on the same date each quarter to provide four equal billing periods and on-demand reads enable swift and remote changes of tenancy.
“The conclusion of this project is another milestone not only for Jersey Electricity but for the island as a whole,” says CEO Chris Ambler. “It is the foundation for the transformation of our energy system that will bring more control, comfort and convenience for customers and help Jersey on its journey to becoming zero carbon.”
Ambler adds that at the start of the rollout, customers were most concerned about meter readers losing their jobs. However, none have done so and they have either retired or been redeployed.
Among other company news Jersey Electricity is undertaking a smart electric vehicle charging pilot. The company is installing a growing network of charging points. Two different solutions will be tested in the 12-month trial, which is set to involve 30 participants.