Utility Week

UtilityWeek 5th August 2016

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

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28 | 5th - 11th August 2016 | utILItY WEEK Sponsored Report: smart meters I t may have suffered repeated delays, but the mass smart meter rollout finally com- mence last month (July). The drive to make smart meters man- datory dates back to when Ed Miliband was secretary of state for energy in the last Labour government. But the rollout has proved more problematic than envisaged in 2011 when Miliband's successor, Chris Huhne, announced that the exercise would start in 2014. The delays have largely stemmed from glitches with the Data and Communications Company (DCC), the central communications system which will handle all the data trans- fer between meters and suppliers. There has also been dithering over meter specifications. Approximately 1.6 million smart meters had already been installed by energy sup- pliers before the official rollout began. But, illustrating the scale of the task facing the industry, this figure is a small fraction of the approximately 30 million meters that will have to be installed in homes and small busi- nesses by 2020 in order to meet the govern- ment's goal of full coverage. However, now that the rollout has begun in earnest, the focus is shiing to the impact that the smart meter revolution will have on the way the industry is organised. This piece of wide-ranging research into the opinion of senior industry figures seeks to gauge their expectations and concerns about the impact the smart meter rollout will have on their business. They were probed on the industry's readi- ness for the rollout and also asked to look beyond the rollout itself to examine how smart meters are changing the way energy companies, and energy networks, organise themselves and interact with customers, as well as other factors. Transforming relationships Utility Week, in association with WNS, has interviewed senior figures in the energy industry to gauge their perception of the impact smart metering will have on their businesses. Produced in association with: Moving the end date would help everyone to spread the workload a bit and have a better chance of getting the resources needed to get these installations completed. Knowing what the likely defect rate is going to be is key because having a lot of people standing around waiting for work is not a good use of money. " " " " Sector iS expecting receptive cuStomerS who will change their behaviour, at leaSt in the Short term Q: To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about the smart meter rollout Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree/Disagree Agree Strongly Agree I have already found customers to be receptive I expect customers to be receptive I expect customers to change their behaviour in the short term I expect customers to change their behaviour in the medium to long-term I believe the rollout is an effective means of customer engagement My business intends to trial alternatives to the IHD 3% 3% 3% 9% 12% 27% 18% 15% 15 % 42% 55% 52% 18% 15% 4% 18% 15% 18% 33% 48% 36% 18% 16% 24% 9% 9% 12% 12% 9% 30% many networkS believe that calloutS will riSe, however over half admit that there maybe a Staff Shortfall Q: As a result of the smart meter rollout, will the volume of callouts change at all? (Net) Q: Do you have enough qualified staff to handle increased callouts arising from the smart meter rollout in a timely manner? (Net.) Yes No Unknown at this point Yes, the volume will increase Yes, the volume will decrease No, the volume will stay broadly the same 58% 46% 46% 8% 33 % 8%

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