27 August 2020 Metering, Smart Meter Rollout

Smart meter installs see COVID enforced slowdown in Q2, but new data shows accelerating recovery

smart meter

Government statistics for the second quarter of 2020 show expected slowdown in smart meter installations, however the rollout’s post-lockdown recovery is now gathering pace.

As expected, the number of smart meters operating in smart mode in Great Britain at the end of Q2 2020 is almost unchanged from the previous quarter due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The marginal increase of 0.4% in operating smart meters between the first and second quarter of the year indicates the low levels of new installations carried out by energy suppliers between 1 April and 30 June 2020.

During the national lockdown, the smart meter rollout was temporarily halted in order to stem the spread of COVID-19, with energy suppliers and meter installers instead focussing on emergency and essential metering work.

As of 30 June 2020, there were 21.5 million smart and advanced meters operating in Great Britain in homes and small businesses, of which 17.4 million were smart meters operating in smart mode and advanced meters. This means that 31% of all meters are in smart mode or advanced meters, with a further 8% of meters being smart meters in ‘traditional mode’ (mean 39% of all meters in the UK are now smart devices).

Currently, first generation (SMETS1) meters are being remotely moved onto the DCC’s national network in order to restore smart services, and priority is being given to those which are temporarily operating in traditional mode (i.e. meters that have lost smart functionality upon switching supplier). For an update on this process, read our latest story on DCC migration here.

Industry information from the Data Communications Company (DCC) shows that as of 30 June 2020, there were 4.4 million domestic SMETS2 meters connected to the system up by over 100,000 from the 4.3 million at the end of March 2020.


Post-lockdown rollout recovery

Meanwhile, new statistics published by ElectraLink – the regulated central body responsible for operating the data hub that underpins the UK energy market – demonstrate that the smart meter recovery is undergoing an accelerating recovery following the national lockdown that all but halted the rollout.

According to its data hub, July 2020’s smart meter installation figures across the UK were close to 152,000 – a 120 percent rise from June. While July’s figures still show a 36 percent drop against the same month last year, the gap is closing (June 2020’s numbers were 67 percent down on the previous year). Similarly, the DCC has also reported that July’s SMETS2 installations were 17 times higher than during lockdown.

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