The Data Communications Company’s national, secure data network went live in November 2016, it is now starting to operate at scale, with an ever-increasing number of second generation ‘SMETS2’ meters installed into consumers’ homes each day.
Since 2016 we have been constantly designing, building and testing new updates to our critical infrastructure, making sure we get it right because it will connect every home and small business in Britain. In November 2017, we made a major update to our system – Release 1.4 – which improved the security and usability of our network for our customers, the energy suppliers.
In October 2018, we successfully launched another major update, Release 2.0. This paves the way for dual band communications hubs, which will provide a stronger signal and allow people in harder-to-reach homes to reap the benefits of smart metering.
The installation of SMETS2 meters is gaining momentum. Unlike the first generation devices, these meters are installed onto our secure network as standard. That's important because it means that energy consumers are able to switch their supplier to get a better deal without losing smart functionality. This functionality is at the heart of faster and more reliable switching. Faster Switching is a programme in its own right which DCC is delivering for Ofgem.
Much of DCC’s attention is on its enrolment and adoption programme, which will see all compliant first generation (SMETS1) meters enrolled onto our network. This will allow energy suppliers to communicate with SMETS1 meters via the DCC’s secure network, just as they can with SMETS2 meters. For consumers, this will mean retaining the full smart functionality of their SMETS1 meter after switching supplier. This is known as "interoperability".
The process of enrolling SMETS1 meters onto the DCC network began in December 2018, with extensive trialling, to ensure a smooth experience for our customers and their consumers. SMETS1 meters will be migrated en masse from summer 2019.
We have been testing the enrolment process with suppliers since April 2018, and have proven that SMETS1 meters can work with the DCC’s network including switching supplier without loss of smart functionality.