The new test lab, which will be used by energy suppliers to trial configuration of SMETS1 meters with SMETS2 meters, follows the success of an initial lab which has seen SMS support the DCC with system integration testing.
SMS Plc has built a new metering test lab for the Data Communications Company (DCC) following a successful tender in August.
The lab, housed at the group’s Merlin House in Cardiff, will provide facilities for UK energy suppliers to test the configuration of first generation smart meters (known as SMETS1) with next-generation smart meters (SMETS2).
The testing process will aid suppliers to identify how the DCC will manage and exchange the data between all parties as part of its end-to-end service.
Last week, the DCC – which is responsible for managing the data and communications network of Britain’s smart meters – showed at a “proof of interoperability” demonstration that SMETS1 devices will work on its central, secure data network. This marked an important step towards ensuring any first-generation smart meters that have lost smart functionality since switching energy supplier will regain capabilities once enrolled onto the network.
SMS has played a significant role in achieving this milestone, providing the DCC with a metering test lab over the past six months and supporting it to finalise SMETS1 interoperability testing. The DCC has also confirmed a six-month extension for this first test Lab facility (also housed in Merlin House) being used for Systems Integration Testing (SIT).
With the awarding of a second lab to SMS Plc, the company will once again assist the DCC and energy suppliers in developing the network for the benefit of consumers.
In delivering these ‘User Testing Services’, the lab at Merlin House will provide space for 400 device sets. The facility includes setting up unique phantom load devices to be used to show consumption without using any power on the device sets. The lab was audited and approved for operational activity by the DCC on the 9th November 2018.
We are in daily contact with DCC and their service providers carrying out the tests, and our team is responsible for the pairing of device sets, as well as inventory listings and all shipments of test equipment coming to and leaving the facility.
Some of the daily tasks being carried out are:
• Installing/Exchanging meters
• Pairing the meters and In-House Display’s (IHD’s) to ensure a ‘device set’ is ready for testing
• Assisting with changing the tariffs from credit to prepayment
• Emulating a fault such as a low battery or a tamper alarm
• Stock management of over 1,000 assets
• Working with meter manufactures/suppliers attending the Cardiff branch
SMS will continue to provide this service and we have received excellent feedback from DCC and their service providers for our support on this second project to date.
Jon Russell, Head of Electricity Metering at SMS Plc, commented: “Securing the second test lab puts SMS in a great position as we continue to build our strong relationship with the DCC. The DCC is centrally placed in ensuring our industry can successfully migrate any installed SMETS1 meter into the future SMETS2 environment.”
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