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Understanding The Smart Meter Roll-Out



 Jul, 08 - 2015   General

Welcome to Logic4training’s guide to the Smart Meter roll-out.

The United Kingdom is currently in the middle of a national roll-out of smart meters. The government’s plan is to bring our energy system up to date and make sure that by 2020, every home in the UK will be able to use smart meter technology.

Gas and energy suppliers are required to install smart meters in every home and business in Great Britain but they are not mandatory – consumers can choose not to opt in. Having a smart meter is beneficial, however, as it shows you how much energy you are using. This is not only a good thing for a household’s financial health but also the environment.

 

The government has set rules and standards to ensure that consumers are protected and get the full benefits from the upgrade to smart meters. These include rules around:

  • Technical standards for the smart metering equipment
  • Meeting the needs of vulnerable people
  • Data access – so consumers always have choice over their data
  • Security – making sure the systems are secure

 

At present many of us struggle to make sense of our energy bills and very few people have any idea of how much energy they are actually using in their homes.

Smart meters will change the relationship between customers and their energy suppliers, giving everyone greater control and clarity over their energy usage.

With the smart meter roll-out comes an increase in demand for installers.

These meters need to be fitted and it’s the operatives on the front line who will need the right training to carry out the task over the next few years.

Logic4training are a National Skills Academy for Power (NSAP) approved training provider for smart metering (dual fuel) – See what we offer, along with job opportunities, here.

 


The Smart Meter Roll-Out

 

2015 is known as the foundation stage of the national smart meter roll-out and is all about making sure the groundwork is in place. Suppliers, systems and networks are being built and tested.

The government is working with the energy industry, consumer groups and others to:

  • Set the regulatory and commercial framework
  • Get the necessary organisations up and running, including Smart Energy GB and the Data Communications Company
  • Plan the infrastructure we need to start the main installation phase

 

The gas and electricity suppliers are using the foundation stage to:

  • Train smart meter installers to meet the standards set by Ofgem for installation
  • Make sure their internal systems can handle smart meter data
  • Run trials and test installations, to iron out hitches and make sure that their customers get the best experience from installation

 

Next year (2016) is the beginning of the installation phase, which will last until 2020. It will be the responsibility of the gas and electricity suppliers to plan and deliver smart meter installations. They will be allowed to do this however they or the customer wants but they must meet the Government’s overall timescale and targets.

All the energy suppliers have different plans for smart meter installation, depending on factors like location of their main customer base. Installers should check with their employers for specific information.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change will manage the implementation of the programme and the energy regulator, Ofgem, is responsible for making sure consumers are protected during the installation phase.


 

Projections for the future…

 

During the process the government expects that smart meter installation will:

  • Accelerate sharply in 2016. This is when all the common standards will come into force
  • Include around 20 million meters fitted between 2016 and 2018.
  • Peak in 2019 and finish in 2020

The technology is ready and the roll-out will start with houses in urban and semi-urban areas. Flats will come later and high rise flats will come last (starting in 2018).

 

N-Power’s explaining smart meters video for consumers


 

Roles & Responsibilities

 

Ofgem

The national energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for making sure consumers are protected during the smart meter installation (and beyond). They’ll ensure that the energy suppliers stick to the standards set out in the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICOP) and regulate the Data Communications Company.

Ofgem is also responsible for the governance of the Smart Energy Code which the Data Communications Company, the energy suppliers and the network operators have signed up to.

 

Data Communications Company

The Data Communications Company provides the communications infrastructure that handles smart meter data. They make sure smart meters send the right information to ensure bills are accurate to a national standard. The Data Communications Company is regulated by Ofgem and will not itself store any customer data.

 

Power suppliers, Fitting and operation

The energy suppliers are responsible for supplying and fitting smart meters. They need to abide by the rules and regulations set out in the Code of Practice (SMICOP), including making sure people are informed about smart meters and know how to control their data.

They also have to make sure that the smart meters they supply meet government standards – the Smart Metering Technical Standards (SMETS).

 

If your business is responsible for installing smart meters, you would like to install smart meters yourself, or you have any questions, call 0345 845 7222.

For enquiries email Enquiries@logic4training.co.uk


 

Resources

https://www.gov.uk/smart-meters-how-they-work