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We spoke with Oliver Archer, an analyst at Cornwall Insight, regarding the benefits of SMETS smart meters and this what he had to say:

  • They provide consumers with access to better information on their energy consumption.

This is supported in SMETS by the capability of displaying consumption and pricing information to a consumer on the metering equipment’s user interface and an IHD (including meter balance, instantaneous Power in kW, cumulative consumption so far today, this week, this month); and the capability of providing information (historical profile consumption data and real-time consumption and pricing data) to a consumer access device via the HAN, or to authorised parties via the WAN communications interface.

  • They provide accurate billing.

This is supported in SMETS by the capability of recording and storing reads of the tariff registers at configurable billing times, and the capability of retrieving these reads remotely over the WAN communications interface.

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  • They provide support for a range of time of use tariffs.

This is supported in SMETS by the capability of applying Time-of-use Pricing or Time-of-use with Block Pricing; the capability of recording consumption to up to 48 registers (electricity) and four registers (gas) according to the time the electricity or gas is used; and the capability of accumulating consumption to up to four-block counters according to configurable consumption block thresholds for a sole (gas) or one of eight (electricity) time-of-use bands.

  • They ensure that customers can continue to use metering systems in Prepayment or Credit mode and that Prepayment functionality is standardised.

This is supported by the capability of the system to operate in Credit Mode and Prepayment Mode and of being remotely switched from one mode to the other; and the capability of maintaining a meter balance. When in prepayment mode it is also supported by the capability of providing emergency credit, recovering debt, disconnecting supply when credit and emergency credit are exhausted, suspending the Disablement of Supply during non-disconnection periods, and processing local or remote top-ups to the meter balance.

  • They ensure support for the development of smart grids.

This is supported in SMETS by the capability of load limiting; the capability of recording voltage quality information, import and export active and reactive energy consumption; and the capability of logging outage times and dates

  • They ensure support for Microgeneration.

This is supported in SMETS by the capability of forwarding requests for information to a Microgeneration meter, and of sending the information received from a Microgeneration Meter to authorised parties via the WAN interface; and by the capability of measuring and recording electricity export from premises.

  • They ensure that metering systems are operated securely and with sufficient safeguards concerning the delivery of data access and privacy policy framework.

This is supported by the capability to protect the integrity of the device, security components and any personal data, with a breach of integrity logged in the Security Log and an alert raised; the capability to secure transactions over the network interfaces through establishing mutual authentication between the sender and receiver, data integrity, protection against replay attacks and checking the content of the transaction for critical commands; the capability to record security events in a Security Log and raising alerts; and the capability to check the authenticity, intended recipient and rejecting duplicate entries for unique transaction reference numbers entered via the user interface.