Further delay for smart meter rollout

The full smart meter rollout has been hit with another delay, as the smart meter network operator missed its deadline for go-live.

The Data and Communications Company (DCC) was expected to go live on 30 September, after several delays since its original date in December 2015.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have not yet confirmed a new date but the infrastructure is vital to connect smart meters to business systems of energy suppliers, network operators and other authorised service users of the network.

A spokesperson for the DCC said: “The national data and communications infrastructure is in the final stages of testing and is making good progress. We are working hard to deliver the network at the earliest possible opportunity to the energy industry.”

The government has set out deadlines for using the DCC and meter installation as part of its plans to ensure a “timely” rollout, and ensure both energy suppliers and distribution network operators are ready to commence the rollout from the DCC go-live date.

All domestic suppliers are required to be using the DCC by 1 August 2017, while large suppliers will also have to install 1,500 SMETS2 meters by 1 February 2017.

A BEIS spokesperson said: “Smart meters will enable suppliers to deliver innovative products and services and help consumers to bring down their energy bills. This new infrastructure will make it easier for consumers to switch and is in the final stages of testing.”

The industry is already concerned about meeting the target of offering a smart meter to every household in the UK by 2020. Consultancy firm KPMG has warned that the current installation rate would need to increase five-fold in order to meet the target.

KPMG power and utilities director Amy Marshall said: “The number of smart and advanced meters operating in UK homes and small businesses now stands at 4.2 million, as the race towards hitting the 2020 government target intensifies.

“Once the DCC, which will deliver the infrastructure to support the mass roll out, goes live we expect to see installation rates increase rapidly. Based on the smart meter figures released this week, almost one million meters will need to be installed every month between now and the end of 2020 to ensure all 53 million homes are ready by 2020.

“This is a huge challenge for the industry, with an average of less than 200,000 meters currently being installed per month by large suppliers in 2016.”

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