ABOUT THE ROLLOUT
The government wants energy suppliers to install smart meters in every home in England, Wales and Scotland. There are more than 26 million homes for the energy suppliers to get to, with the goal of every home being offered a smart meter by 2020.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIESThe smart meter rollout involves lots of different tasks, including installing smart meters and creating a new wireless communications grid. There are many organisations involved, as well as new regulatory codes and standards. Below is a brief breakdown of all the responsibilities.
THE GOVERNMENTThe government has set the targets and established roles and responsibilities for the national rollout of smart meters. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is leading and monitoring the rollout. It has also set rules and standards to ensure that consumers are protected. These include rules around technical standards for the equipment and making sure the needs of vulnerable people are met.
OFGEMThe energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for making sure consumers are protected. They'll ensure that the energy suppliers stick to the standards set out in the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICOP). They are also responsible for the governance of the Smart Energy Code which the Data Communications Company, the energy suppliers and the network operators have signed up to.
THE DATA COMMUNICATIONS COMPANYThe Data Communications Company provides the communications infrastructure that handles smart meter data. They make sure smart meters have the right information to generate your bill.
The energy suppliers are responsible for supplying and fitting smart meters. They need to abide by the rules and regulations set out in the Code of Practice (SMICOP), including making sure people know how smart meters work and how to control their data. They also have to make sure that the smart meters they supply meet government standards – the Smart Metering Technical Standards (SMETS).
Are smart meters compulsory?Smart meters are not compulsory; it's entirely your choice. The government requires energy suppliers to offer smart meters to all homes and small businesses across Great Britain by 2020, but whether you accept them is completely up to you. More than four in five people who have a smart meter say they would recommend one.
Have other countries already got smart meters?
The United States, Canada, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands are among the countries already benefiting from smart meters and most other EU countries are currently rolling them out. In Great Britain, the rollout has been specifically designed with the consumer at its heart with millions of pounds of savings that are expected to be passed on through lower bills and energy efficiency, and will help Britain move towards a lower carbon economy.