Moving from Legacy to Smart Meters: A DDC OS Perspective

What are Smart Meters?

Smart meters measure a customer’s exact gas and electricity use and then send all the information back to the energy supplier, without the need for someone to come and take meter readings.

The In-Home Display (IHD) tells the customer how much energy is being used as a display monitor in your home.

Smart meters provide near real-time information on energy usage, allowing customers to manage this more effectively, reducing costs as well as emissions.

Customers will also receive more accurate bills and only pay for the energy they use. Smart meters will also enable customers to switch suppliers much more quickly as the market moves to faster switching.

Smart meters are also a key part of smart grids by improving energy usage forecasting, so that demand is easier to plan, making the energy system more efficient.

Remember: you can opt out or opt into the amount of data you provide through your smart meter, but the standard will be to obtain monthly reads.


What organisations manage smart meters in the market?

Data and Communications Company (DCC): The DCC links smart meters with energy suppliers, network operators and energy service companies. DCC develop and deliver the data and communications service through external providers in order to enable smart meters to work.

Smart Energy Code (SEC): The SEC sets out the terms for the provision of the DCC’s services and specifies other provisions to govern the end-to-end management of smart metering.

Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP): The SMICoP specifies the minimum standards for a supplier to follow in relation to the customer-facing aspects of the installation of smart meters. It is a supplier licence requirement to adhere to an installation code of practice, and some suppliers have developed their own.


What are SMETS 1 and SMETS 2 meters?

These are first and second-generation smart meters. SMETS stands for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification.

First-generation meters aren’t fully compatible with the network and switching supplier can cause it to lose its smart capabilities. This means readings will need to be taken manually again as with ordinary legacy meters.

Some energy companies have begun installing second-generation meters (which don’t have this problem), and the DCC is looking at ways to improve the switching capability of first-generation meters, this project is called enrolment and adoption.


How long have suppliers got to complete the smart meter roll-out?

The government has called on energy companies to replace all old-style gas and electricity meters with smart meters.

Around 13.65m smart meters are installed so far, though are not being installed fast enough to fit them in every home by the end of 2020 target date.

Completing the national roll-out is an enormous logistical and technical challenge for the energy industry, involving visits to around 30m homes and small businesses, and installing about 53m new meters.

There are also consumers who simply don’t want a smart meter. This means the metering landscape is about to get very complex with a mix of SMETS 1, SMETS 2 and legacy meters.


How can DDC OS support your smart metering journey?

DDC OS provides the following services:

  • Deployment of a full Smart Metering team:
    • Plan and manage the installation of smart meters
    • Resolve exceptions and liaise with metering/distribution businesses as necessary
    • Resolve smart metering read exceptions
    • Ensure post-installation questionnaires are completed
    • Provide all end-to-end back office meter-to-cash process
  • Deployment of Legacy team:
    • Allows the upskilling of internal staff to smart while we look after the legacy meters
    • Ensure reads are up to date and billing is accurate
    • Resolve settlement exceptions and improve settlement performance
    • Resolve metering faults and support the smart roll-out
    • Provide all end-to-end back office meter-to-cash process

Get in touch today.