HAN details finalized for Britain’s smart meter rollout


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — January 29, 2013

Britain’s government has decided that ZigBee Smart Energy Profile v1 and DLMS/COSEM will be the home area network (HAN) application layer standards for the nation’s smart metering rollout.

Further, the 2.4 GHz frequency will initially be adopted as the HAN standard, which should achieve greater than 70 percent coverage. 868 MHz solutions will be included in the future as they become available.

These are among the conclusions of the first of two responses to a consultation on the updated smart metering equipment technical specifications (SMETS) for the national rollout.

According to the response document ZigBee SEP v1 will be mandated as the HAN standard for gas and the in-home display and other in-premise data transfer, while for electricity DLMS ‘tunnelled’ over ZigBee SEP will be used. This choice is based on the rationale that it meets the local requirements and is available within the program timescales. However, while ZigBee SEP v1 supports most of the program’s security requirements, it requires the development of additional functionality for signing of acknowledgements and sensitive messages. The government will work closely with the ZigBee Alliance to develop these extensions, which will be notified as part of a GB Companion Specification later in the year.

The response also confirmed that a communications service provider (CSP) model would be used for the provision of the communications hub. The communications hub will interconnect the wide area network (WAN), which is provided by the CSPs, and the HAN (and associated smart metering devices) provided by the energy supplier.

Under this model the data and communications company (DCC) would procure communications hubs via the CSP contract, and the CSP would supply communications hubs to energy suppliers for installation and maintenance, operating under a general principle of ‘costs lie where they fall’ for these activities, to avoid complex recharging arrangements for installation and maintenance.

Alongside the response, an updated impact assessment was published, indicating a best estimate net benefit of the rollout of £6.659 billion. Though including a new benefit reflecting air quality improvements (£104 million), the total net benefit is reduced from the April 2012 figure of £7.178 billion, largely due to lower projected prices for carbon and reduced marginal carbon emission factors.