Smart Meters and the subsequent smart meter rollout has been a hot topic for a number of months and years. Whilst various suppliers organise and decide their rollout strategies, smart meters have taken a small bashing when it comes to public opinion. However, a recent survey by Smart Energy GB supports that fact that customers are keen to engage with suppliers to have their smart meters installed.
The main hold up of the smart meter rollout has come from the transition of SMETS1 meters or essentially version 1 meters, to SMETS2 the more robust interoperable meters. SMETS1 is designed to ensure that the rollout has a base platform to work from, whilst improving the overall DCC connection service for SMETS2 installations.
SMETS1 meters will be remotely upgraded to the DCC SMETS2 connectivity. Meaning that customers who are with EDF for example switch to EON, they currently struggle to make use of their smart meters. However, with the remote upgrade to their SMETS1 meters, they will then be able to switch between suppliers as and when their contracts are up.
Another reason for the staggered rollout of the smart meter mandate, has been directed via the limited quantity of skilled workers available in the UK to install smart meters.
With over circa 5000 dual fuel accredited engineers in the UK, there is a small shortage of smart meter installers. However, with smart meter academies now being rolled out throughout the UK, this will no longer be an issue. Meaning that the demand is reduced and in line reduces the cost to hire engineers in the UK.
26 million smart meters are required for the smart meter rollout, and this will be no small exercise, in fact it is the biggest infrastructure upgrade since World War II. There will be bumps and bruises along the way, but it is great to see a sector about to go through a further growth rate.