Alternative Home Area Network Company (Alt HAN Co Ltd) – the not-for-profit collective of energy suppliers created to address the issue of households unable to enjoy the benefits of standard smart meters – has appointed SMS to test the use of wireless radio technology solutions as an innovative new smart metering solution.

Find out how, through the provision of our bespoke meter testing service located at our Test Centre in Bolton, the solution aims to unlock the advantages of smart meters for up to a million British households and provide energy suppliers with a vital tool to meet mandated rollout targets.

The challenge

It is estimated that up to one million households, mostly commonly apartments and large or thick walled homes, are built as such that the components of the Home Area Network (HAN) – the energy meters, in-home device (IHD), and communications hub that make up a standard smart meter installation – are currently unable to communicate due to the distance between the devices.

To overcome this challenge for energy suppliers mandated to roll out smart meters to customers nationwide, Alt HAN Co has developed a set of solutions, including the use of powerline networking, that enables the communication of smart metering devices across a greater distance.

meters plugged into socket

The solution

Powerline networking is a hybrid of wired and wireless technology which uses existing electrical wiring in a building in tandem with plug-in adapters. It is commonly used in homes to boost WiFi range.

Alt HAN Co proposes to leverage this technology, with wireless hardware supplied by tech manufacturer Landis+Gyr, to boost the range of the Home Area Network (HAN) used by smart meters. Alt HAN Co therefore needed a specialist metering partner to test the interoperability of powerline networking technology with standard SMETS2 smart meter devices, and to ensure the devices could be successfully installed and commissioned in UK at homes with ease, and at scale.

Engineer testing meter devices at Alt Han

Services delivered

Since being appointed by Alt HAN Co the test the solution in 2021, our expert team in Bolton has designed and built a bespoke testing facility to support the Alt HAN concept across multiple meter types and variations. The facility replicates a building of 46 individual apartments with gas and electricity supplies.

In June 20222, testing services were formally launched following build completion and proof of concept testing. This initial phase of the project will see SMS and Alt HAN analyse the solutions to ensure interoperability with the smart meter HAN.

Following the interoperability phase, SMS will provide Alt HAN Co with enduring support for the scaled adoption of the solution, providing energy suppliers with a significant new tool in their armoury to meet mandated rollout obligations and unlock access to new smart meter customers.

This supporting package of services, which SMS already offers individually to energy suppliers through its portfolio optimisation solution, Smart Meter Health, includes ongoing testing of device combinations, compatibility with any new meter models and firmware upgrades, and installation and commissioning best practice of the adopted technology.

Engineer testing meter devices

What our experts say

At SMS, we have continually shown ourselves to be at the very forefront of metering innovation, from being one of the very first independent meter operators and meter asset managers in the country to last year installing Britain’s first ever 3-phase SMETS2 smart meter, a crucial rollout milestone that was also developed and tested for the market at our state-of-the art facility in Bolton.

"The new partnership with Alt HAN Co is once again testament to our commitment to provide innovative solutions for our energy supplier customers. Once interoperability is tested at our facility, we anticipate that the powerline solution could unlock access to up to 4% of GB premises that cannot currently have a smart meter installed due to connectivity challenges, bringing these consumers the full benefits of smart meters and assisting energy suppliers with their mandated rollout targets.”

Simon Chester
Smart Service Delivery Manager

What our customers say

Alt HAN Co is committed to ensuring that all GB customers are able to enjoy the full benefits of smart meters and addressing the smart metering gap. Our work with SMS will ensure that the full benefits of smart metering, and the use of the Alternative Home Area Network solutions to address hard to reach premises, is assured to customers everywhere.”

Paul Cooper
Managing Director of Alt HAN Co
Speech bubbles icon

Make an enquiry

Interested in our metering solutions? Get in touch with our expert teams today.

Get in touch