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Still a way to go with Smart Meter targets

The clock is ticking away on the smart meter roll-out and there's still a lot of work to be done if energy suppliers are to meet government targets.

All homes and small business sites will be offered smart meters by their energy company between now and the end of 2020. 

The Smart Metering Programme is now into its main installation phase, the period when most households and small businesses will have smart meters installed by their energy supplier.  However, the latest figures released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) reveal that there is still a long way to go if the 2020 target is to be achieved.

The Smart Meter Quarterly Report details the progress of the programme for the first quarter of 2017, with less than four years to complete the roll-out. 

Smart Meter Quarterly Report to end March 2017, key findings

Smart meters in operation (defined as the number of smart meters that energy suppliers are operating in smart mode):

  • Large energy suppliers, domestic meters: 5.76 million meters, representing 12% of the total of all domestic meters operated by large energy suppliers.
  • Large energy suppliers, non-domestic smart and advanced meters: 589,800, representing over 20% of all non-domestic meters operated by large energy suppliers. 

Smart meter installations carried out in first quarter of 2017:

  • Large energy suppliers, domestic installations: 1,027,7002, representing 10% increase on previous quarter. 
  • Large energy suppliers, non-domestic installations of smart and advanced meters: 13,800, representing a 6% increase on previous quarter. 

Total smart and advanced meters operating across domestic and non-domestic sites as at 31 March 2017:

  • Large and small energy suppliers: 6.78 million

Small energy suppliers, who are required to report annually, installed a total of 11,700 domestic smart meters and 65,300 non-domestic smart and advanced meters during 2016. 

As expected, the large energy suppliers have seen a steady increase in installations in this first full quarter of the programme’s main installation phase, which began in November 2016, putting the percentage increases into context. 

The report states that the "totals of meters installed and operated are not directly comparable for two reasons; the transition of suppliers between the small and large classifications used in this series, and customers switching from large to small suppliers.

"There are technical issues that mean some meters may be operated in traditional mode, such as meters being unable to communicate externally via the wide area network or customers choosing to switch to suppliers currently unable to operate smart meters in smart mode."

Roll-out continues

There are reports that some big energy suppliers have urged the government to reconsider the 2020 deadline and public confidence in the programme is waning.  Others are concerned that the programme will cost far more than the £11 billion estimate two years ago. 

However, in his Energy UK conference speech last year, Greg Clark, Secretary of State for BEIS, put the emphasis on 2020 being the deadline for "the offer" of a smart meter, which may take the pressure off suppliers to take "all reasonable steps" to install meters by 2020.

The next quarterly report is planned for publication on 31 August 2017.

You can download the Quarterly Report to 31 March 2017 as well as all the other Smart Meter reports, here.

For more information about our Smart Meter training services, click here.

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