Britain’s smart meter rollout delayed by a year


Edward Davey,
Secretary of State
for Energy and
Climate Change
London, England — (METERING.COM) — May 13, 2013 – Britain’s smart meter rollout has been pushed back by a year and full scale rollout is now expected to be ready to start by autumn 2015, according to a statement from Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, released Friday.

“As part of the procurement process, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has tested with bidders for communication and data service (DCC) provider contracts, and with the energy industry, the time needed for the design, build and test phases of their programs. The consistent message was that more time was needed if the mass rollout was to get off to the best possible start and ensure a quality experience for consumers,” said the statement.

Accordingly the completion for the rollout – which involves over 50 million electric and gas smart meters to around 30 million homes and small businesses – moves to end 2020 from the previous end 2019 – although the statement notes the vast majority of smart meters are expected to be in place against the original 2019 deadline.

In addition to the statement, the DECC issued a response document and further consultation on the foundation smart market (i.e. in the period prior to full scale rollout). This sets out how smart meters installed in the foundation stage will be enrolled and adopted into the enduring arrangements, and the regulations to support smart change of supplier for meters installed during foundation.

Among the decisions, from the end of this year, when a customer switches from a supplier who has provided them with a compliant smart meter, the new supplier cannot replace that smart meter with a dumb meter and must either rent the previous supplier’s meter or install their own new smart meter. This is aimed to give greater confidence to early movers over their investments.

It is also proposed for consultation that, when a customer with a compliant smart meter switches supplier, the new supplier must continue to provide remote meter readings. This would make sure that customers continue to receive one of the important benefits of smart metering – more accurate bills.

Regarding the enrollment of foundation smart meters, DECC has decided that all significant populations of SMETS 1 meters should be supported, and that the first generation of enrolment should be undertaken as a single exercise to minimize costs. Further, the costs of the system development to support these meters should be spread across all users in the same manner as the development cost of the main DCC systems.

According to the statement, industry expects to roll out in excess of 2 million compliant smart meters to customers over the next two years of the foundation stage.