Utility Week

Utility Week 1st November 2013

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/201852

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 31

Operations & Assets Pipe up Andy Corkhill Indecisive, incomplete and outdated: the smart meter rollout plan could learn some lessons from digital TV. I £30,000 for the cancer charity and local charity Global Generation. Vital Energi, which installed the energy centre and district heating network, contributed £5,000 to the fundraising effort. Roof-mounted wind turbines, solar panels, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal systems also feature in the development, which is designed to use 39 per cent less energy than industry norms. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, please send your pictures and details of the project to: paul.newton@fav-house.com t's been more than six years since the launch of the UK's smart meter programme. Some remarkable things have happened in the UK in that time. There's been a nationwide rollout of a new terrestrial digital TV service to 26.7 million homes. Apple launched the iPad and Nokia saw its market share decline from 40 to 5 per cent. But what has this to do with smart metering? Well, in almost twice the time taken to achieve a 100 per cent rollout of digital TV, we still lack the basic infrastructure to allow two-way communications with smart meters in UK homes. In some areas, even the technical specifications needed to start the rollout haven't been confirmed. The actual meters almost have an agreed standard, but no-one is certain how, or how often, the data is going to be collected, aggregated and sent to the utilities. Are there lessons we could learn from the digital TV rollout? This included a mass marketing campaign to raise awareness of the switch and its benefits, while explainConsumers ing that the vast majority would would be much need to pay to modify or replace more engaged their TVs. Utility customers are with a real-time increasingly frustrated at the rising cost of energy bills, while display on a remaining unaware of what device they use smart meters are and how they will be of benefit. all the time There are other crucial issues. Why hasn't water been included in the rollout? A much smarter UK could be created by extending the capabilities of a smart metering infrastructure to include the future needs of water. Are smart meters actually the right direction at all? The way consumers access and interact with information has changed forever with the launch of the iPad; online apps are now commonplace across smartphones, TVs and tablets. Yet the smart meter mandate still includes the requirement for more than 25 million in-home devices (IHDs) to be rolled out. Surely consumers would be much more engaged with a real-time display on a device they use all the time? And what is the cost, both in monetary and environmental terms, of developing, manufacturing, and distributing more than 25 million IHDs? Nokia was blindsided by the consumer-led revolution driving its industry and eventually pushed its customers into the arms of new market entrant competitors. It's easy to see how a large energy retailer could become the next Nokia, given rising energy prices, ongoing billing problems and attacks on the industry by politicians. The smart meter rollout as it stands could be one of the biggest missed opportunities seen in UK infrastructure development over the past 50 years. Andy Corkhill, vice president UK & Europe, EXL Service UTILITY WEEK | 1st - 7th November 2013 | 23

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Utility Week 1st November 2013