The delivery of Britain’s smart metering infrastructure is now beginning in earnest, to ensure readiness for Autumn 2015 when the full rollout is scheduled to begin, according to the latest program annual report, which was released just before Christmas.

This follows the achievement of a number of significant milestones over the past year and a gradual transfer of responsibility for the implementation and sustaining of the smart metering system to the industry and the newly established Data and Communications Company (DCC).

Regulatory oversight is by Ofgem, while ownership of the overall program continues with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The report states that a key focus over the next two years will be the design, build and testing of DCC, DCC service providers’ and DCC users’ systems. In parallel, preparations for delivering the rollout on the ground will be stepped up, starting to build up consumer awareness of smart metering and to prepare for the logistical challenges of delivery.

Specifically the key government priorities for 2014 are:

  • Further development of the Smart Energy Code (SEC), which sets out the contractual relationship between the DCC and its users, to ensure that the relevant arrangements are in place to support the testing of the data and communication systems, including security, data access and enrolment of foundation meters
  • Completion of the second version (expected mid-2014) of the common technical standards (SMETS 2) to enable suppliers to specify and procure the next generation of smart metering equipment
  • Monitoring activity by all parties responsible for delivering the rollout to understand their capability and readiness to meet their obligations and to track progress throughout the rollout period
  • Finalization of plans for monitoring the realization of benefits, understanding risks and opportunities and considering whether intervention may be needed to give greater assurance on delivering benefits
  • Working with the newly established Central Delivery Body (CDB) to build customer awareness and understanding at an early stage to assist in an efficient rollout that delivers the range of benefits.

By Autumn 2015, the report notes, DECC expects that all major suppliers will be capable of installing smart meters, supported by DCC services.

During 2013, in addition to the appointments of the DCC licensee and the data and communications service providers, the designation of the Smart Energy Code, and the establishment of the CDB, other key developments included the confirmation of the regulatory approach to the foundation smart market, the coming into effect of an Installation Code of Practice and regulations on data access, and the development of arrangements for monitoring the costs and delivery of benefits.

View the Smart Metering Implementation Program Second Annual Report HERE.

By Jonathan Spencer Jones