Smart meters are the next generation of electricity and gas meters. They will bring about the end of estimated bills. They will provide customers and energy companies with accurate and up to date information on energy being used both in the home and across the country. Smart meters will allow the energy company to read the meter remotely, without having to send a meter reader to the home.
Smart meters will enable energy companies to improve the standard of service that they offer to customers. They will have a better understanding of their customer’s energy use and will be able to personalise their communication based on this.
The Energy Retail Association has played a leading role in campaigning for smart meters to be rolled out. In 2007, we joined with Energywatch (now Consumer Focus), and trade publication Utility Week, to form the Look Smart coalition. We successfully lobbied Government for a mandate for smart meters to be rolled out across Britain within 10 years. Working alongside our members and industry experts, the ERA smart meter project team has delivered a series of products, consultations and publications. The Smart Meter Project Team has been in place since 2006 and has worked through a number of stages:
- Agreeing principles and requirements for working together and functionality for smart gas and electricity metering
- Creating proposals and options for a full operational framework for smart metering
- Implementing the Supplier Requirements for Smart Metering project, working on a number of wider industry initiatives associated with smart metering, and providing responses to a number of Government consultations and working with the Government’s central smart metering implementation programme to develop best outcomes for smart metering and customers.
In October 2008, the Government announced that smart meters were to be installed in every home in Britain by the end of 2020. The programme will involve the replacement of more than 50 million electricity and gas meters in over 29 million homes and businesses.
The Government has decided on a supplier-led model for the roll-out of gas and electricity smart meters in Britain. This means there is a lead role to install smart meters for the Energy Retail Association’s members – the six main energy suppliers in Britain.
During the ongoing phase of central programme work, the ERA smart metering work is focused on:
- Delivering collective development work on behalf of ERA members to deliver collective supplier responsibilities (e.g. Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice)
- Analysing key issues for resolution and looking forward to future developments
- Fully contributing to the DECC Smart Metering Programme with development work and industry expert resource
- Responding to Ofgem and DECC consultations with a combined ERA view.