02/12/2019

Installation rates of smart meters have bounced back, new figures show, reversing the negative trend seen in the first half of this year.

The industry had suffered an 8.6 per cent drop between January and the end of June (compared to the final six months of 2018) as the transition to second generation (SMETS2) smart meters continued.

However, Q3 2019 saw a 4 per cent increase in installations compared to the previous quarter, representing a strong recovery from the setback. As a result, there were 15.6 million smart meters in operation as of 30 September according to latest statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The rise means that 28 percent of domestic meters are now operating in smart mode, with more than 1.06 million smart meters installed in domestic properties by large suppliers in the third quarter of 2019 (a 6 per cent increase on Q2).

During Q3, 20,800 non-domestic meters were also installed by large suppliers (a 6 per cent quarterly decrease), bringing the proportion of non-domestic meters to be operating smartly, or with advanced functionality, to 38 per cent.

The latest figures show that 14 million domestic smart meters in smart mode are operated by large suppliers, 57% of which are electricity meters. A smaller proportion of small energy suppliers’ meters are smart (at the end of 2018 they reported operating a total of 353,000 smart meters, which is 9.4% of their meters, compared to 30% for large suppliers).

Additional figures from the Data Communications Company (DCC) show that as at the end of Q3 2019, there were nearly 2.3 million domestic SMETS2 meters connected to the system. This has increased from 1.3 million at the end of June 2019.

As far as non-domestic meters are concerned, there were 748,700 smart meters operating in smart mode, or advanced meters representing a third of all non-domestic meters in operation by large suppliers. A greater proportion of electricity meters are smart or advanced than gas (35% versus 24%).

In September the government announced plans to extend the smart meter rollout deadline until 2024 as part of a wider industry consultation.

With 36 million meters still to be installed, it has been clear for some time that the smart meter rollout is set to fall short of its original 2020 ambition, and the fresh aim is to ensure 85 per cent of the UK's gas and electricity meters are smart by 2024.

The government closed its consultation on 11 November 2019 and is due to make an announcement by the end of the year.

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