Utility Week

UTILITY Week 6th November 2015

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

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Page 22 of 31

Customers This week DCC promises to fix smart meter glitch Data Communications Company says delay in notifying outages will be resolved before go-live The Data Communications Company (DCC) has pledged to solve a glitch in the smart meter rollout that threatens the ability of network companies to see the distribution network in real time, hindering the move to smarter grids. Utility Week understands there is a delay of 13 minutes between large numbers of customers losing or returning to power and network companies being notified by the communication service providers (CSPs) for DCC. A spokesperson for DCC said: "DCC is working with network operators on a solution to ensure they are noti- fied as soon as possible aer a power outage." DCC said the problem would be resolved by April 2016, when the DCC network is scheduled to go live. Two CSPs – Telefonica in southern and central UK, and Arqiva in the north – are contracted to provide com- munications to DCC for the smart meter rollout. Utility Week understands that in the south of the country there is a delay with "the last breath" – a smart meter's final signal before a blackout – and issues in the north with "the first breath" aer returning to power. This will hinder customer service procedures and repair work on the network to correct the fault, a problem that would undermine efforts to develop smart grids. A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokes- person said: "Providing outage alerts is an important benefit to network operators and hardworking families and businesses. This will eliminate the need for bill pay- ers to call their provider and alert them to an outage." LD ENERGY RWE develops smart device language RWE has launched a universal programming language designed to aid development of devices for the Internet of Things. The Lemonbeat Smart Device Language will allow devices to be developed more quickly and provide easier interconnection with other products by removing the necessity for an intermediary interface such as Bluetooth. RWE said the development of Lemonbeat was "an important step in the development of the Internet of Things" and a "key solution" to the problem of a uniform, secure communication standard. The first consumer product using Lemonbeat technology will be introduced next year (see analysis, p17). ENERGY No payment details accessed in data leak British Gas has assured its customers that a data leak which revealed more than 2,000 account login details online was not due to a system breach and no payment details were accessed. The company was forced to write to 2,200 customers last week aer their login passwords were posted online, but only users' names, addresses and past energy bills were vulnerable because the system that securely stores payment details was not breached. "From our investigations, we are confident that the informa- tion which appeared online did not come from British Gas," said the supplier in the letter. "There has been no breach of our secure data storage systems, so none of your payment data, such as bank account or credit card details, have been at risk. As you'd expect, we encrypt and store this information securely." ENERGY Bills must show best collective switches Suppliers must include collective switch tariffs in the cheapest tar- iff message required on customer bills, Ofgem has ruled. Any tariff offered through a collective switch must be included if the tariff remains open to customers aer the win- ning supplier has been chosen. Ofgem said it was updating the requirements following a change in the way collective switches are offered, so that customers will receive more accurate information. In the past, only customers already registered to collec- tive switch organisations could switch to the collective tariff, but recent collectives have allowed customers to join aer the win- ning supplier has been chosen. Smart meters: delay in notifying power outages I am the customer Allen Creedy "There is a fear that small firms are being overlooked" The chancellor recently announced £100 billion of investment for roads, rail, flood defences and other vital projects, all overseen by a new National Infrastructure Commission. The FSB welcomes this move and the potential opportunities it can bring for the UK's small firms. As part of his infrastructure review, George Osborne identi- fied energy security as a priority, particularly the question of how the UK can "better balance supply and demand" in a market again, being overlooked as it seeks to make sweeping changes to the energy landscape. Once the government's myr- iad energy-related reviews and consultations are completed, the chancellor must demonstrate how the UK's 5.4 million small businesses will be encouraged to engage in the market, improve their energy efficiency and invest in community energy schemes. Allen Creedy, energy and environment chair, Federation of Small Businesses where "prices are reflective of costs". In this context, there are three areas where the FSB is pressing for change: the ongo- ing CMA market inquiry; the government's Business Energy Efficiency Tax review; and the recent consultation on renewa- ble incentives. Small and micro- businesses have a huge role to play in delivering successful out- comes in these areas. Without their support and investment, the government will not meet its energy security targets. There is huge uncertainty while the government recali- brates how and where it wants to incentivise investment, and a fear that small businesses are, UTILITY WEEK | 6TH - 12TH NOVEMBER 2015 | 23

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