With the introduction of second generation Smart Meters (SMETS2) from next year, concerns relating to the accuracy and security of the first generation meters (SMETS1) are being addressed and the future for Smart Meters is looking a lot more positive.
The Government is standing by its pledge to offer all households the option of a Smart Meter by 2020 as they are believed to offer a solution to he industry-wide problem of billing errors, eliminate the need for manual meter reading and help households reduce energy consumption. The energy companies, in broad agreement of the policy, are responsible for training installers and fitting the meters.
How the SMETS2 meters will improve on SMETS1
Accuracy - Some customers with SMETS1 meters have been receiving extraordinarily high bills because their meters have been feeding inaccurate information through to energy providers. SMETS2 meters will address these issues by providing more accurate readings and positive developments from some of the energy providers will help householders understand the readings with more accessible technology. For instance Ovo, one of the newer suppliers and a supporter of smart meter technology, has developed a mobile app to help its customers understand what they are seeing. The app clearly sets out readings, shows a current balance and offers comparisons with usage and costs over recent months making the system significantly more user-friendly.
Flexibility - Those with SMETS 1 smart meters have had problems when switching suppliers as the technologies the companies use hasn’t been compatible and data can’t be shared. Landis+Gyr, the UK’s largest smart meter manufacturer says that the second-generation SMETS2 meters will be able to cope when households change suppliers and retain functionality post-switch.
Connectivity - Accounts of the SMETS1 meters not working properly in areas where there is poor mobile phone reception have been common, but these issues have been addressed in the second generation meters and connectivity will be improved.
Reducing Energy Costs – Some householders have been disappointed with the savings they have made on their energy bills after their meters have been installed, but this too, is likely to be a thing of the past as energy companies are developing ways to attract new business. British Gas have said that customers save an average of £30 a year by using a smart meter and Ofgem has suggested that energy companies will be able to offer better deals to smart meter customers who use energy outside peak hours. Pressure has been growing on energy suppliers to ditch standard tariffs. From next year, for example, E.On customers with smart meters will no longer pay its so-called "standard variable tariff", which is the default option they are moved onto when they have finished a fixed deal.
Second Generation Smart Meters
Following a successful small-scale trial in the UK, this summer, the new smart meters are due to be rolled out from 2018. As well as smoothing out the teething problems of their forerunners, the new meters are expected to unlock a raft of innovative features, including time-of-use tariffs and peer-to-peer energy trading so that customers will be able to track and record their energy usage. Smart data will be used to harness household solar power, battery packs and electric vehicle charging, creating more efficient holistic energy systems. Households will find themselves in a position to feed supply back into the grid, as well as draw from it.
With these new developments, smart meters look to be set for a brighter future and with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) calculating that nearly 350,000 units are being fitted every month, it’s surely a good time to promote your smart meter courses.
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