UK smart meter installations hit lowest level since 2016

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According to data released by UK IT service management firm Electralink, the country’s smart meter installation dropped by 27% in 2020 compared to 2019 as a result of COVID-19.

There have only been 1.997 million installations of SMETS1, SMETS2 or non-SMETS smart meters in 2020, marking the lowest number since 2016.

However, there were 3 million meters installed in 2020, according to the DCC, the company that is running the UKs national smart meter network.

Data released by Electralink is based on installations made (households with smart meters) not the actual smart meters installed, Smart Energy International has learnt.

For example, “If a home gets an electric and gas smart meter installed, the DCC would say there are 2 new smart meters, while Electralink would say there was 1 new installation.”

The first national lockdown had the biggest impact on the country’s smart meter rollout plan as installations were postponed.

The first quarter of 2020 saw a decrease of 15% in installations compared to the same period in 2019.

However, despite COVID-19, installations in the UK have been dropping since 2018, according to Electralink.

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Non-emergency smart meter installations only commenced in June 2020 after the government lifted some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. This allowed smart energy experts to install meters with safety protocols in place.

Installations increased by 7% in November 2020 compared to September.

The slowdown of non-urgent installations in December 2020 saw 172,000 units being installed across England, Scotland and Wales. This is 25% less than November 2020 and brought the overall cumulative total to 14.7 million installations since the programme began.

East England topped the charts with 23,000 installations in December, followed by Southern England with 22,000 and 17,000 in the East Midlands.