11 April 2019 Metering, Smart Meter Rollout

SMS extends provision of smart metering test labs to DCC

test lab for meters

The Data Communications Company (DCC) has signed an extension to continue System Integration Testing and User Testing Services at two lab facilities provided by SMS in Cardiff.

These are the second and third extensions that have been signed since the start of our test lab contract with the DCC in April 2018. Both phases of testing should be completed in Q4 2019.

System Integration Testing

The first lab, which was built at SMS’s Merlin House and went operational last spring, provides the DCC with System Integration Testing (SIT). The facilities and services delivered have been instrumental in supporting the DCC to finalise the interoperability of first-generation (SMETS1) smart meters with its network.

This has helped ensure that any SMETS1 smart meters that have lost smart functionality since switching energy supplier will regain capabilities once enrolled onto the network. You can read more about SMETS1 adoption and enrolment process here.

User Testing Services

The second lab, which also sits in Merlin House and went operational in November 2018, provides User Testing Services (UTS). This bespoke UTS lab allows the DCC to carry out testing on meters, as well as providing on-site testing facilities for Testing Participants (TPs).

Due to these external TPs (energy suppliers) needing to access the lab, it had to pass an assurance visit by the DCC to ensure all the requirements set out within the contract had been met. On 14th and 15th February 2019, 16 delegates from the DCC and their service providers visited Cardiff to carry out this inspection, with all criteria having been successfully met in readiness for the TPs to begin testing.

The UTS lab can hold up to 200 device sets (Electric Meter, Gas Meter, IHD) and is able to produce phantom loads to both fuels to show normal consumption within a domestic property. SMS also uses Variable Voltage Transformers to create alerts that the DCC use to test the intrinsic safety of the meters.

Field Metering Manager at SMS Ltd, Christopher Pitt, who manages the DCC test labs, commented:

“Our partnership with the DCC has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months and the next six months will be extremely busy as we welcome several TPs to Cardiff. We have a great team in Cardiff who solely support the DCC and service user requests. They play a vital part in ensuring all devices are suitable for testing and using manufacturer software to programme the meters when needed.

“Our work with the DCC on this project demonstrates our commitment to playing a key role in improving the smart meter system for the benefit of suppliers and consumers alike, and to be at the heart of the low-carbon smart energy revolution.”

We are one of the country’s leading smart meter installation companies, that’s why energy suppliers count on us to deliver smart meters to their domestic customers around Britain. Find out more.