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Energy Saving Trusts views on maximising interoperability for SMETS1 meters

If householders are to benefit from enhanced advice services informed by their own smart meter data, it is vital that ALL smart meters are enrolled in the Data and Communications Company (DCC).

BEIS’ current consultation on maximising the interoperability for SMETS1 meters asks if we agree with their proposals that suppliers should be required to take all reasonable steps to enrol eligible SMETS1 meters in the DCC, or replace with SMETS2, within a specified timeframe.

Our response will be a definite YES!

As BEIS note in their consultation, consumers who do not have enrolled smart meter will not have the same opportunities to benefit from third party services as those whose meters are enrolled in the DCC. Providers of such party services are typically noted to include switching sites and energy services companies. Less frequently referenced, but no less important (!) is the third party service – the Smart Meter Advice Project (SMAP) - that the Energy Saving Trust, on behalf of the Scottish Government, will launch later this year.

It is well documented that impartial advice is essential for changing the way that householders use energy. And there is significant potential for such advice to be enhanced by the data that will be made available by smart meters. Indeed, the Scottish Government’s recently published Energy Strategy recognised the role that customer data from smart meters could play in providing ‘tailored energy efficiency solutions and advice’ and outlined their commitment to ‘a Smart Meter Advice Project delivered through Home Energy Scotland to enable customers to make the most of the energy use data provided by their smart meters’.

Home Energy Scotland is a network of local advice centres covering all of Scotland. Its expert advisors offer free, impartial advice on energy saving, renewable energy, sustainable transport, waste prevention and more. It is managed by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government. SMAP will allow Home Energy Scotland, subject to householder consent, to request data from a customer’s smart meter, receive, store and analyse this data and provide tailored energy saving advice based on it. 

If SMETS1 meters are not enrolled into the DCC then it will not be possible for householders with this meter type to benefit from the advice provided by SMAP. Given that just under 10.1 million SMETS1 meters have been installed across GB to date this would mean significant numbers of householders would not be able to benefit from enhanced energy saving advice.

Both the UK Government and the Scottish Government have challenging climate change and fuel poverty targets. These coupled with the role that impartial advice can play in changing the way householders’ use energy mean it will be important that as many households as possible are able to benefit from smart meter data enhanced advice services as soon as possible.

If this is to happen it will be essential that that eligible SMETS1 meters are enrolled in the DCC or, where this is not possible, suppliers move rapidly to replace these meters with SMETS2 meters.