Smart Energy Code – UK proposes way to test end-to-end smart metering

DECC consultant on Smart Energy Code
The DECC is seeking consultation on the Smart Energy Code that will regulate the testing of smart meters and data transfer

Earlier this month, the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change released a consultation document called the New Smart Energy Code Content and Related Supply Licence Amendments.

The objective of the paper is to gather industry opinion on changes to the Smart Energy Code (SEC) that cover testing elements of the end-to-end smart metering system.

The SEC is a multiparty contract created through the Data and Communications Company (DCC), the organisation established to manage the flow of data to and from smart metering equipment in the domestic sector.

The DCC, energy suppliers and network parties are required by their licences to become a party to the SEC and comply with its provisions.

Other bodies that wish to use the DCC’s services, such as energy efficiency and energy service companies, will also need to become a party to the SEC and comply with its provisions.

Reaction to Smart Energy Code

Since the paper was released on 15 July, 2015, major energy suppliers, including British Gas, E.ON, Utilita, SSE and nPower, have voiced concerns over the outlined proposals on testing methods.

One guideline from the DCC is that energy companies should pay for network connections six months’ in advance for testing.

Smart metering project managers at British Gas said: “Why six months in advance? We will be paying for six months of bandwidth and cost for no reason if we don’t want to participate in the Pre UIT testing. Don’t want to pay for a connection we don’t need, until we need it,” reported trade website TechWorld.

Smart meter testing – need for test stubs

Other energy companies say the testing approach proposed by the government posed “too much risk” as they do not include test stubs to simulate software components behaviour.

E.On said: “We are particularly concerned that the overall testing timeline has been condensed as far as possible with the overlap of User Acceptance Testing and Interface testing.

“The further overlapping of Solution Testing with Interface testing and User Acceptance Testing, we believe adds too much risk.

The energy company added: “We are also concerned at the proposals to introduce real devices into the User Entry Process Tests part way through testing.

“From our Foundation experience we are concerned that introducing different devices part way through a test phase could cause undue delays.”

The Government said its response covering the areas included in this consultation will be published by the end of 2015.

The consultation document stated that the timing will continue to support the delivery of the DCC’s services in line with the revised plan that was approved by the Secretary of State on 5 March, 2015.