Utility Week

Utility Week 28th February 2014

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/266932

Contents of this Issue


Page 10 of 31

T he rollout of smart meters will revo- lutionise utilities, from the customer taking greater control of their con- sumption to the smart network managing power demand in real time. Not only are there overwhelming commercial and envi- ronmental imperatives driving the rollout of smart meters, the UK has also signed up to a European target of 80 per cent market coverage by 2020. It is committed to an £11.7 billion programme to install smart meters in more than 30 million homes by that date. The rollout programme is under way, with the government having awarded £2.4 billion-worth of contracts to companies including Capita, which has established the central Data and Communications Company (DCC) which will spearhead the rollout in October. However, the programme has come under criticism for being over complicated and slow to get off the ground. In May the government acknowledged this by delaying the official start of the rollout for a year to autumn 2015. While there has been considerable focus on who is responsible for the rollout and the technologies to make it happen, less has been said about the complex practical issues that will face the market when the rollout begins in earnest next year. One of the most pressing issues is whether the market has the accurate addressing and premises information needed to install a smart meter in every home in the country in a timely and efficient manner; and how it UTILITY WEEK | 28Th FEbrUarY - 6Th March 2014 | 11 Research Smart meters proposes to share this information between market participants. The electricity and gas industries currently identify and locate their meters in different ways, and use address- ing systems and formats that are not nec- essarily consistent. This creates obstacles around linking them, compromising data quality. Moreover, there are gaps in address- ing information, with most of the companies responding to our survey admitting they are unable to identify or deal with multiple dwelling units, mixed use units, prepayment tariffs and other deviations from the norm. According to one major energy supplier, the smart metering implementation pro- gramme (SMIP) will be "the most significant change in the relationship between consum- ers and energy ever". Getting it right could provide a valuable boost to that relationship. Utility Week, in association with Ord- nance Survey, undertook this research pro- ject to get a clear picture of: what addressing and premises information exists; what prob- lems inaccurate or incomplete addressing information will cause; and to what extent the market is equipped to share information between participants. Key findings Despite the rocky start, the survey found that there was broad, if not overwhelming, con- fidence that the rollout of smart meters will be delivered on time. In most areas, distribu- tion network operators (DNOs) anticipated greater difficulties than suppliers, no doubt reflecting their lack of control over the sup- plier-led rollout. However, this overall confidence is not reflected in the more detailed areas of the rollout, with widespread expectation of problems arising from an inability to iden- tify difficult buildings; exchange addressing information between market participants; and communicate effectively within the mar- ket, and between the market and consumers. • Respondents were fairly confident the smart meter rollout will be delivered in a timely and efficient fashion. • This confidence was slightly higher among suppliers than DNOs and gov- ernment and industry association respondents. • Respondents reported broad confidence in the availability of accurate address- ing information, although this was not always reflected in the detail. • 72 per cent of respondents anticipated dif- ficulties in the rollout due to inability to identify difficult buildings. • There was a strong appetite for the cross-industry application of a universal reference such as the unique property reference number (UPRN), with 95 per cent of respondents seeing a benefit in its inclusion in the SMIP. • The ability to exchange information between market participants was iden- tified as key to the success of the SMIP, with a significant majority of respondents (76 per cent) anticipating difficulties here. What's your address? In exclusive research by Utility Week and Ordnance Survey energy industry players were asked if they had good enough quality addressing information to support the smart meter rollout. On a scale Of 1 tO 5, hOw cOnfident are yOu that the rOllOut Of smart meters will be delivered in a timely and efficient manner? 1 Not at all confident 2 3 4 5 Extremely confident Overall 33% 40% 42% 60% 24% 2.9 2.9 3.0 3.0 avg avg 50% 32% 50% 28% 40% supplier Government body/industry association dnO Key:

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Utility Week 28th February 2014