11 January 2022 Company News, Innovation, Metering, Smart Meter Rollout

SMS to support Alt HAN Co in testing solutions for non-standard smart meter installations

meters plugged into socket

The partnership will test the use of hybrid wired and wireless radio technologies in order to provide connectivity for premises currently located in smart meter blackspots

Alternative Home Area Network Company (Alt HAN Co Ltd) – the not-for-profit collective of energy suppliers created to address the issue of households unable to enjoy the benefits of standard smart meters – has partnered with SMS Ltd to test the use of powerline networking and wireless radio technology solutions.

It is estimated that up to one million households are situated in hard-to-reach areas where the components of the Home Area Network (HAN) – the energy meters, in-home device, and communications hub that make up a standard smart meter installation – are currently unable to communicate. To overcome this challenge, Alt HAN Co has developed a set of solutions that enable the communication of smart metering devices across a greater distance.

SMS will provide a specialist lab facility and firmware management service to test the Alt HAN Co solutions. The solutions will be analysed by SMS with support from Alt HAN Co over the next 12 months to ensure interoperability with the smart meter HAN, which communicates via a bespoke wireless system and connects to the secure national network managed by Smart DCC.

In addition to the initial interoperability phase, which will replicate 34 different HANs in a range of hard-to-reach mock domestic settings and configurations, SMS will provide Alt HAN Co and its energy supplier members with enduring support for the adoption of the solution, including ongoing testing of device combinations, compatibility with new meter models and firmware upgrades, and installation and commissioning best practice.

Tim Mortlock, CEO of SMS, said:

“At SMS, we have continually shown ourselves to be at the very forefront of metering innovation, from being one of the very first independent meter operators and meter asset managers in the country to last year installing Britain’s first ever 3-phase SMETS2 smart meter, a crucial rollout milestone that was also developed and tested for the market at our state-of-the art facility in Bolton. The new partnership with Alt HAN Co is once again testament to our commitment to provide innovative solutions for our energy supplier customers.

Once interoperability is tested at our facility, we anticipate that the powerline solution could unlock access to up to 4% of GB premises that cannot currently have a smart meter installed due to connectivity challenges, bringing these consumers the full benefits of smart meters and assisting energy suppliers with their mandated rollout targets.”

Paul Cooper, Managing Director of Alt HAN Co, added:

Alt HAN Co is committed to ensuring that all GB customers are able to enjoy the full benefits of smart meters and addressing the smart metering gap. Our work with SMS will ensure that the full benefits of smart metering, and the use of the Alternative Home Area Network solutions to address hard to reach premises, is assured to customers everywhere.”