29 November 2018 Metering, Smart Meter Rollout

First-generation smart meters “proven to be interoperable” with DCC network

Smart meter display unit

With some first-generation smart meters having temporarily lost smart functionality if consumers switch energy supplier, the DCC’s landmark “proof of interoperability” demonstration confirms their smart capabilities can be restored once enrolled onto the network.

The Data Communications Company (DCC) has successfully demonstrated that first generation smart meters (known as SMETS1) will work on its central, secure data network.
At a “proof of interoperability” demonstration, senior government officials from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) witnessed the DCC – the organisation responsible for managing the data and communications network for Britain’s smart meters – connect a SMETS1 device to its system.

The DCC then simulated a household smart meter enrolling onto the secure data network under a new energy supplier and tariff. Achieving this interoperability milestone took just a few minutes.

SMS Ltd 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.

With some first-generation smart meters having temporarily lost smart functionality if consumers switch energy supplier, the DCC’s demonstration is a major step forward in the upgrade of the national smart meter communications network.

‘Dumb’ SMETS1 devices to regain smart functionality

DCC advise that consumers with first-generation smart meters will be able to see their smart capabilities restored once the meters are enrolled into the national smart meter communications network. Enrolment will happen automatically and over the air, without the consumer needing to take any action. The upgrade to support enrolment, starting now, is planned to be completed by the end of 2020 to ensure all devices stay smart when switching.

From 5 December, for most energy companies SMETS1 meters for credit consumers will no longer count towards their roll-out obligations. They are likely to intensify installation of second-generation (SMETS2) meters, which were designed to work immediately on the DCC network.
There are now more than 160,000 SMETS2 meters installed onto the DCC network, with daily installation rates steadily rising.

Angus Flett, CEO of the Data Communications Company, welcomed the successful demonstration of SMETS1 interoperability:

“This confirmation represents a significant milestone in our work to migrate millions of SMETS1 meters onto the DCC’s secure network. Coupled with the rising numbers of second generation meters being installed each day, real momentum is building behind this major transformation of Britain’s energy system.”