BBC Radio 4 Interview: The decline of smart meter installations

Robert Buckley, our Head of Retail and Relationship Development, spoke live on BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme about Cornwall Insight’s latest research on smart meters.

The research showed that to meet the 2020 deadline, the installation of smart meters would need to quadruple to reach the target; instead, the numbers of smart meters being fitted is starting to fall.

Discussing the low installation rate, Robert said, “It has tailed off due to the transition from the SMETS1 meters ­– the first version of the meters – to the new SMETS2 standard.” It was explained how we are in the thick of the transition period; however, once this is completed, the “roll-out should start to accelerate”.

The issues surrounding the SMETS1 connectivity and the remedies to combat were explored during the interview. Commenting on how the functionality will be restored, Robert said, “There will be a wave of software scheduled between now and the end of the year that should bring back the meters to full functionality.”

Going further Robert describes that there is still some anecdotal evidence that SMETS1 meters are being installed if it is in the reasonable interest of the customer, but he clarifies that this would not count towards the target.

The presenter Winifred Robinson read a statement from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that told the programme how they are “now only committed to offering everybody a smart meter” rather than fitting every household with one.

However, Robert went on to explain how the pressure was still on suppliers to make all reasonable efforts to offer smart meters and despite the new tariffs and incentives from suppliers to encourage smart meter uptake, “it is getting harder for suppliers to engage consumers who haven’t yet got the meters”.

There is a long way to go to be able to meet the 2020 deadline, however smart data is going to be “absolutely key” for the homes of the future if the UK is serious about net zero.

Don’t worry if you missed it, you can catch the whole interview here, with the conversation starting at 34 minutes.

Related thinking

Regulation and policy

What will the introduction of the Retail Energy Code mean for metering companies?

Ofgem has proposed that certain metering companies will need to become full parties to the new dual fuel Retail Energy Code (REC). What will this mean in practice? Metering Equipment Managers (MEMs) is a term introduced for the REC, encompassing electricity Meter Operator Agents (commonly termed MOPs) and gas Meter...

Regulation and policy

New horizons: DCC plans to expand remit over next 5 years

The government awarded the Data Communications Company (DCC) licence to Capita subsidiary Smart DCC Ltd in 2013. As an Ofgem-regulated monopoly, the DCC’s remit was to set up the smart metering communications infrastructure, linking up 53mn electricity and gas meters with the systems of energy suppliers, network companies and third...

Energy storage and flexibility

All mod cons: Routes to market for household flexibility

According to National Grid’s 2019 Future Energy Scenarios[1], meeting decarbonisation targets could require deployment in GB of 13GW of flexibility from commercial and industrial consumers by 2050, compared to around 1GW currently available. While there are currently no comparable forecasts for domestic demand-side response (DSR), energy suppliers and technology companies...

Home supply and services

DCC systems now supporting over 4mn meters

One year ago, the SMETS1 end date was approaching for suppliers with derogations and for smart meters installed for prepayment customers. At this time, there were only around half a million SMETS2 meters installed, with almost 12mn SMETS1 meters deployed. A year on, SMETS2 installs have ramped up significantly, and...

Home supply and services

Comparing smart tariffs – could it be smarter?

By the end of September 2019, 15.6mn households had a smart meter installed, increasing access to consumption information and monitoring. While only a small proportion of households currently use half hourly tariffs (and there isn’t currently market wide half hourly settlement of domestic smart meters), the industry is widely discussing...

Regulation and policy

Market Wide Half-Hourly Settlement: Half-way home or just the first steps on the journey to a smart, flexible, energy system?

Ofgem’s electricity settlement reform programme—the Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS) Significant Code Review (SCR)—is around the half-way point towards introducing arrangements that ensure the benefits of smart meters can be delivered to enable “a smart, flexible, energy system”. The ambition is for smart meter data to be used within the electricity settlements system to...

Regulation and policy

Smart export guarantee

This summary outlines Cornwall Insight’s response to BEIS’ January consultation on the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). It expresses support for the broad thrust of the SEG proposals and identifies key issues for further consideration. Overview The proposals set out in the 8 January document The Future for Small-scale Low-carbon Generation...

Commercial and market outlook

Five things we learnt from Energy Spectrum | 658

As the details of the three domestic and small business energy efficiency measures announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement – a new Future Homes Standard, a commitment to “green the grid” and a proposed scheme for SMEs – are firmed up, we believe that innovation, affordability and diversity in setting...