The rollout of smart meters


In a nutshell

This government scheme will ensure all homes and small businesses have a smart meter installed by 2020. This will help consumers control energy usage, and enable a more efficient, greener, smarter energy system.
What is changing?
  • From 21 May 2018, energy suppliers must install smart meters on sites which consume under 732,000kWh of gas, and on sites within meter Profile Class 1-4 for electricity.

  • Many of these sites will already have AMR installed. If this is the case, these sites are exempt and the AMR device will not need to be replaced with a smart meter.

  • If the customer does not already have AMR, Ørsted will arrange to install an AMR device at the site(s) before 21 May 2018 (subject to customers' agreement) .

  • If an AMR device needs to be replaced after this date, it will be replaced with a smart meter by the supplier.

  • After this date, smart meters will be installed on an ongoing basis.
Considerations
  • The Government's 2020 target is considered challenging and many industry commentators question whether it can be met.

  • Energy suppliers have already installed approximately 7 million SMETS1 meters (first generation smart meters), but it has since been discovered that SMETS1 meters may not be able to retain their 'smart' functionalities if a customer changes supplier.

  • The industry and Data and Communications Company (DCC) are working on a solution that would allow SMETS1 meters to operate on the DCC system, while retaining the ‘smart’ functionalities when customers switch suppliers.  

  • SMETS2 meters (second generation of smart meters) have recently become available. A number of domestic suppliers have started rolling out SMETS2 meters to their customers. Ørsted expects to roll out SMETS2 meters from Q2 2018.

 

AMR and smart meters – what's the difference?

  • Advanced meters' (often referred to as Advanced Meter Reading, or AMR) create a one-way communication channel between a business and the energy supplier.
  • The AMR device records and counts the units of energy that run through the meter, and sends this directly to the energy supplier.
  • The data collected is used to more accurately calculate invoices and also means that manual meter readings are no longer required.

With AMR, customers can also view consumption data, so they can more easily monitor opportunities for improved efficiencies.

Smart meters

Smart meters encompass all of the benefits of AMR technology, but they also have a display screen that shows:

  • How much energy a customer is using in near real-time
  • Energy cost in pounds and pence (or if preferred, kWh or CO2 emissions)

For smart meters operating in prepay mode, it will also show:

  • Amount of credit remaining
  • Amount on the emergency credit balance
  • Debt balance, if there is one
  • Visual or audio alert if the credit is getting low

 

To qualify as a smart meter, the equipment must conform to the detailed requirements laid out in the Government-published Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS).

 

Where can I find more information?
You can find more information about smart meters on Government's website.