Second-generation smart meters pass 5 million mark

07/09/2020
The Data Communications Company (DCC) has confirmed that the 5 millionth second-generation smart meter (SMETS2) has been installed onto its nationwide secure network. 

This significant milestone was passed with the installation of an electricity smart meter at 9:44am on the 7th of September 2020 by Bulb Energy at a location in Lincoln.

During the Covid-19 lockdown more than three quarters of a million smart meters were installed. The installation rate has rebounded strongly over the past two months and is now nearing where it had reached before lockdown. This sustained recovery is due to the work of the DCC’s customers – the energy suppliers and distributors – who are responsible for installing meters. They have found new ways of working to maintain progress in the roll-out while keeping the public safe.

In the leading localities, take-up of these second-generation meters has reached more than a third of households. Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire has taken the top spot nationally: its residents are officially Britain’s fastest adopters of this technology, which is helping households to save energy and go green.

The national secure network underpinning energy smart meters is delivered and operated by the DCC. Second-generation meters are fully interoperable, meaning they retain full smart functionality even if the consumer switches energy supplier.

Data Communications Company CEO, Angus Flett, said:

“Despite difficult circumstances the pace of the smart meter roll-out has recovered well during lockdown, with one million meters being installed since February. This is testament to the hard work of our customers – the energy suppliers and distributors – who found new ways of working which allowed installs to continue in a safe way.

“Britain is more concerned about its carbon impact than ever before, and the appetite for this greening technology remains strong. Our data shows that in the front-runner localities, more than a third of homes now have a second-generation meter.

“Our network is a platform for good, and the data flowing across it is paving the way for better use of renewable energy. The DCC is making Britain more connected so we can all lead smarter, greener lives.”

Top localities

The number of second-generation (SMETS2) smart meter installations is growing swiftly across Britain; however there are some areas which are adopting the technology even more rapidly. The East Midlands is the leading region, with multiple areas reaching a point where a third of households have a SMETS2 smart meter; these are likely to be the first to full coverage.

The top ten areas in Britain for the extent of SMETS2 take-up are as follows (in each area, more than one in three homes has a SMETS2 meter):

  1. Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire (36%)
  2. South Derbyshire (36%)
  3. Wokingham, Berkshire (35%)
  4. Hart, Hampshire (35%)
  5. Rugby, Warwickshire (35%)
  6. North West Leicestershire (35%)
  7. North Kesteven, Lincolnshire (35%)
  8. Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire (34%)
  9. Mansfield, Nottinghamshire (34%)
  10. Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire (34%)

* Data generated using ONS local authority household data, crossed-matched with DCC installation data.

EVs and the smart metering network

The DCC recently published its latest five-year plan, setting out how its centralised, secure data network could be harnessed to provide green infrastructure, including potentially an easy-to-use, standardised system to support smart electric vehicle (EV) charging.  A highly secure system to support smart charging, giving a smooth and consistent consumer experience, would encourage faster EV take-up and help accelerate the phasing out of new petrol and diesel vehicles from British roads ahead of the Government’s 2035 deadline.

Mass EV adoption will drive increased demand, likely clustered at the same time of day, creating exactly the demand spike that is damaging to the grid and environment. Co-ordinating demand-response and delivering real-time price data requires a single national, secure, communications infrastructure. The DCC’s network could provide this and enable scheduled charging, which will smooth the demand peak and make the most of renewable energy sources. This would benefit both the consumer, the efficient running of Britain’s energy system.