The Data Communications Company’s (Smart DCC) national, secure data network went live in November 2016 and is ready to operate at scale, with an ever-increasing number of second generation ‘SMETS2’ meters installed into consumers’ homes each day.
The DCC has been on a journey since the network went ‘live’ in 2016. We are 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 of 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. We successfully launched Release 2.0 on 27 October 2018, once again improving our network and paving 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.
With the deadline for installation of first generation smart meters on the horizon, the installation of SMETS2 meters is gaining momentum. SMETS2 meters, unlike the first generation devices, are installed onto our secure network as standard. This is important because it means that energy consumers are able to switch their supplier to get a better deal without losing smart functionality and, therefore they are a vital key to unlocking Ofgem’s next day Switching Programme, for which DCC is a key delivery partner.
With Release 2.0 up and running and the Switching Programme in its initial stages, DCC’s attention is on its enrolment and adoption programme, which will see all compliant SMETS1 meters enrolled onto our network. This will allow energy suppliers and other authorised parties to communicate with SMETS1 meters via the DCC’s secure network, as they can with SMETS2 meters. For consumers, this will mean retaining the full smart functionality of their SMETS1 meter after switching supplier.
The process of enrolling SMETS1 meters onto the DCC network begins in December 2018, with extensive trialling, to ensure a smooth experience for our customers and their consumers. SMETS1 meters will be migrated en masse beginning in 2019, with millions of meters following in phased cohorts.
We have been testing the enrolment process with suppliers since April 2018, and have established that SMETS1 meters can work with the DCC’s network. We have also made good progress on adopting key commercial contracts (the legal process necessary for meters to be adopted), and we continue to negotiate with our supply chain.