Smart meters beat Covid to double in deployment


A total of 6.7 million smart meters were connected during the year to April, doubling the UK’s installed parc, according to new figures from transition supervisors at the Data Communications Company.

A three-month cessation in installs last year, caused by the first lockdown from late March, ended with technicians springing back into action. At their peak, 20,000 boxes of high-end electronics were being commissioned daily.

On 1 February this year Britain broke the 10 million barrier for smart meter instals, when E.On engineers connected their box at a home in Doddington, Cambridgeshire.

Incompatibilities which dogged the early days of the giant meter switchover now look to be receding.  The DDC voiced satisfaction today that four million first-generation smart boxes – the SMETS1 standard – have now been upgraded, and integrated into the wider, second-generation network. All remaining SMETS1 boxes should be converted be the end of next year.

Easier data collection and thus – more importantly – more easily implemented switching of suppliers are the benefits which result, says the DCC, a division of outsourcing giant Capita.

CEO Angus Flett said, “The DCC and its partners have performed well in a year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s great to see momentum building again behind this national infrastructure programme.”

Next steps outlined in the company’s development plans to 2026  include delivering a new Centralised Switching Service, and initiating the purchase of a 4G communications hub designed to futureproof its network.  At the substation level, 5G is already being considered by at least one UK DNO.

Since March the company has ventured further into the network integration necessary for home EV charging. It has partnered with Toshiba to explore how DCC’s network might be opened to strengthen support for the function.


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