Charles Hendry,
U.K. Energy Minister
 
London, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- March 31, 2011 - The British government yesterday published its plans for a national rollout of smart metering, with the requirement that the rollout of 53 million electricity and gas smart meters to 30 million homes and businesses across the nation is essentially complete by 2019.

The program, which was released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the regulator Ofgem in response to a public consultation, requires the rollout to be carried out by the suppliers, with the start of mass rollout currently envisaged for the second quarter of 2014.

The program sets out more than 100 functional requirements for the smart meters. These will now be converted into technical specifications for manufacture, with the aim that compliant meters are commercially available at volume in late 2012. In addition, for residential customers the suppliers will also be required to supply an in-home display to help them understand their energy use.

In order to provide for a coordinated approach to the transfer of the large volumes of data from smart meters, a new data and communications company (DCC) will be established. This is programmed to occur by the end of 2012, when the license is awarded and the service providers are appointed, so that services can start to be provided with the commencement of the mass rollout.

The cost of the program is estimated at £11.3 billion, while the benefits across the domestic and smaller non-domestic sectors are £18.6 billion over the next twenty years, implying a net benefit of £7.3 billion. These benefits derive in large part from reductions in energy consumption and cost savings in industry processes and amount to a saving to the average consumer (with both electricity and gas) of £23 per year on their energy bill by 2020, the government says.

“The rollout of smart meters will play an important role in Britain’s transition to a low carbon economy, and help us meet some of the long term challenges we face in ensuring an affordable, secure and sustainable energy supply,” said energy minister Charles Hendry. “The government's vision is for every home in Great Britain to have smart energy meters, and businesses and public sector users should also have smart or advanced energy metering suited to their needs.”

Other key milestones include the completion of the draft technical specification by July 2011, the first tranche of regulatory obligations on suppliers, including the mandated rollout completion date and an installation code of practice, coming into force in Q2 2012, and the “smart"Ÿ change of supplier arrangements becoming standard in Q4 2012.

For a briefing note on the Smart Metering Implementation Program click HERE

Richard Leyland, Head Smart Meters Programme Team at DECC will expand on deployment strategies for this £11 billion investment in detail at our upcoming Smart Metering UK and Ireland Conference (2 & 3 June, London)