U.K. smart meter costs and benefits firmed up


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 22, 2011 – Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has refined its analysis of the costs and benefits of smart meters for the residential and small and medium business sectors and is moving ahead with consultations on smart meter technical specifications and a code of practice for meter installation and a call for evidence on data access and privacy.

For the preferred rollout option of a meter with a separate communications hub with fixed wide area network (WAN) transceiver, the costs for the residential sector are estimated at £11.06 billion and the benefits at £16 billion. For the small and medium non domestic sector the costs are estimated at £604 million and the benefits are £2.76 billion.

Together these imply net benefits of £7.1 billion over 20 years (to 2030) and accrue mainly from savings due to a reduction in energy consumption, operational savings, and carbon emission reductions.

The accompanying consultations to the updated impact assessments are aimed to build on the smart meter rollout program, which was released on March 30, and form the first tranche to deliver the required changes to the regulatory framework. These include the overall rollout obligation that will be imposed on suppliers and establishing the requirements for smart metering equipment, and the new conditions that would be added to electricity and gas supply licenses requiring the suppliers to develop and adhere to code(s) of practice governing the installation of smart meters.

As previously indicated the start of the mass rollout is currently envisaged to be in the second quarter of 2014, and the target date for completion is 2019.

The call for evidence on data access and privacy is aimed to gather evidence on arrangements for consumers and third parties, such as energy services companies, to gain access to data, as part of the development of a privacy and data access framework.