Government moves to change smart meter rules for small firms


Smart meters are only as smart as the policyGovernment has outlined plans to change the rules around smart meters for small and medium sized businesses.

The department for business, energy and industrial strategy (Beis) believes smaller companies would be disadvantaged by current rules, which allow suppliers to install an advanced meter rather than the latest ‘Smets2’ smart meters.

It has suggested that firms with annual energy consumption of less than 3GWh should instead be offered a smart meter, and that advanced meters will otherwise no longer count towards suppliers’ smart meter targets. Suppliers will still be able to count advanced meters within their smart meters targets at larger customer sites, those consuming at least 3GWh of electricity and/or gas.

The consultation also proposes that suppliers will no longer be able to opt out of the smart meter central comms infrastructure –the DCC – provided they only supply large businesses.

It reasons that firms supplying more than 1,000 non-domestic customers will likely have some SME customers on their books. They will have to register with the DCC and use the platform’s comms infrastructure. Beis says that will ensure interoperability, i.e. smaller customers will be able to better switch suppliers and make use of smart benefits.

Suppliers with less than 1,000 non-domestic customers will not have to become a DCC user, although Beis said that policy would be kept under review.

Beis seeks views on its proposals. See the consultation here.

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