The UK’s installed base of smart, remotely addressable meters passed the 17 million milestone in 2021, overseers at the Data Communications Company (DCC) announced today. Despite lockdowns, eight million of the total were added in 2021 alone.
The coming year is the first time digital intelligent meters will outnumber old-style analogue devices, the DCC predicts.
Owned by outsourcing firm Capita, the DCC is also known as Smart DCC. Under either name, it is the monopoly supervisor appointed by regulator Ofgem to oversee Britain’s metering upgrades, a step essential to integrating low carbon power from distributed sources onto the nation’s grid.
With 10 million homes now enabled, that 17 million total means that half a million tonnes of carbon emissions are now avoided, the company claims.
Last August was the biggest month yet for meter upgrades, with over 1 million meters connected, said the DCC.
Collection and use of energy data on an unprecedented scale are critical to the operation of new networks. Transmission and distribution grids face a double whammy of both a rapid upsurge in locales of generation and exponential growth of intelligent consuming devices, from load-shifting freezers and EVs, to speech-activated home assistants.
Installations of first-generation smart meters on gas and electricity networks more than doubled over the year.
‘Alexa, what’s a SMETS2 ?’
Known as SMETS1, the older variants’ design often fails to allow consumers to pass automatic readings to new suppliers after an account is switched.
Second generation meters overcome this problem First installed in 2018, SMETS2 are connected to a secure, intelligent, UK network. Removing the need for manual readings, SMETS2 allow consumers to switch seamlessly between energy suppliers, obviating – in theory, at least – phone calls and manually reported final readings.
The government has put in place a programme to port first-generation meters across into SMETS2 functionality, giving old meters the same benefits as new ones.
Angus Flett, CEO of Smart DCC said: “2021 was the biggest year yet for the national smart meter roll-out. The trajectory continues and 2022 will be the year that smart meters outnumber traditional analogue meters.
“The growth of our network is due to the hard work of the DCC’s customers, the energy suppliers and network operators. They’ve not only kept installation rates strong, but this year they’ve embraced technologies at scale that are helping us reach more homes and small businesses – such as dual band communications.”
“Already the odds are that if you have a smart meter, its connected to the DCC’s network, which is proving itself as the backbone of a new digital energy infrastructure for Britain.”