Will smart meters become mandatory for U.K. customers?


Ofgem SmartMeter

London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — February 12, 2007 – Industry sources suggest that a white paper due to be published by the U.K. government next month could recommend that it becomes mandatory for smart meters to be installed for all residential customers

The government, together with energy regulator Ofgem, have been examining the pros and cons of smart meters for some months now – in particular as a means of curbing energy use through demand response-type programs in an effort to meet environmental goals. In a highly deregulated energy market such as the U.K.’s, however, the questions surrounding stranded assets, who owns the meter and who should install the meter have not been satisfactorily dealt with. Utilities are therefore calling for increased regulatory direction before being willing to embark on smart metering projects.

If such regulatory direction is forthcoming, it will still be necessary to decide which branch of the industry should take responsibility for the rollout of the meters, a matter that will be highly capital intensive. One suggestion is for the distribution network operators, which are experienced at managing programs requiring large capital outlays, to manage the programs for customers connected to their networks, but no firm decision has yet been taken.

Passing legislation to make smart meters obligatory for all consumers will not be difficult: the more challenging task will be to implement the rollout efficiently and fairly.