05/10/2018

The end date for the installation of first generation (SMETS1) smart meters and advanced meters is to be re-extended to 5 December 2018, the UK government has confirmed.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had previously delayed the original end date of 13 July until 5 October 2018. However, the deadline for energy suppliers (after which any new installations of these meters will not count toward rollout obligations) will now be put back a further eight weeks following an industry consultation (to which SMS Plc was a respondent).

A separate end date for pre-payment meter installations of 15 March 2019 has additionally been announced, while individual derogations have also been agreed for some energy suppliers to continue to install SMETS1 credit meters to this date.

SMETS2 transition

Proposals to extend the SMETS1 end date were put forward by BEIS in July, citing the desire to ensure a “smooth transition” to the next generation (SMETS2) smart meters, thereby putting “consumers first”. Under these now approved plans, energy suppliers will be allowed an extra two months to complete the final testing of SMETS2 meters ahead of moving to a full-scale rollout.

Further to the extension, BEIS has also outlined requirements for energy suppliers to enrol SMETS1 meters into the national smart metering network, run by the Data Communications Company (DCC).

Suppliers have been ordered to take “all reasonable steps” to enrol first generation meters in the DCC within 12 months of the point they are gained (i.e. from the moment a consumer switches to their services). This reinforces BEIS’s commitment to ensure that all SMETS1 meters remain on the wall and are enrolled and adopted into the DCC system, in effect operating in the same manner as a SMETS2 meter does.

With a small number of consumers having experienced temporary loss of smart functionality of their SMETS1 meters upon switching supplier, these measures will ensure that this is rectified and that “all consumers with smart meters can retain smart functionality when they switch energy supplier”, BEIS confirmed.

SMS Plc is currently supporting the DCC and energy suppliers in this enrolment and adoption process with the provision of a specialist metering test lab facility in Cardiff.

Switching made “quicker and easier”

Commenting on the announcement, Energy and Clean Growth minister Claire Perry, said: “We already have 12 million smart meters operating across Great Britain and every month hundreds of thousands more households are choosing to have one installed to take control of their energy use and save money on their bills.

“Today we’re announcing new measures to ensure suppliers are installing the next generation of smart meters and setting out how we’ll ensure all devices stay smart when consumers switch suppliers to get the best deals.”

With BEIS having confirmed that approximately 47,000 SMETS2 devices were already installed by the end of September 2018, a spokesperson for the DCC assured: “Our secure data network is fully operational and open for installations of SMETS2 meters and we continue to support energy suppliers on their rollout.”

Robert Cheesewright, director of corporate affairs of Smart Energy GB, said: “The announcement that confirms first generation smart meters will be enrolled into the secure national infrastructure is good news for customers and an important step forward for the smart meter rollout. This will resolve functionality issues some customers have experienced when switching suppliers, and will make switching quicker and easier.

“All smart meters, whether first or second generation, give you accurate bills and show you how much energy you are using and what it is costing.”

BEIS estimates smart meters will take £300 million off consumer’s bills in 2020, rising to more than £1.2 billion per year by 2030 – an average annual saving of £47 per household.

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