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DCC systems now supporting over 4mn meters

Rowan  Hazell Rowan Hazell Senior Analyst
26th February 2020

One year ago, the SMETS1 end date was approaching for suppliers with derogations and for meters being installed for prepayment customers. At this time, there were only around half a million SMETS2 meters installed, with almost 12mn SMETS1 meters deployed. A year on, SMETS2 installs have ramped up significantly, and progress is being made on the migration of SMETS1 meters into the DCC’s systems.

As of today (26 February), there are over 4mn SMETS2 meters on the DCC systems, and Cornwall Insight analysis suggests that quarterly installs are now well above the 1mn mark. In Q2 2019, SMETS2 meters accounted for just over half of the total smart meter installations, but we now estimate that this figure is around 90%. There have been concerns that rollout rates would fall after the “low hanging fruit” installations had been made, but this suggests that the rollout still has momentum as we head towards the December 2020 “all reasonable steps” deadline.

At the same time, the work to enrol SMETS1 meters into the DCC systems has been picking up pace. DCC figures put the number of meters migrated at 68,400 as of 18 February, and we are now seeing more meters being approved for enrolment. On 21 February, BEIS announced that it had consented to two new “Device Model Combinations” (combinations of electricity and gas meters, Communications Hubs, and In Home Displays) being added to the Eligible Products Combination List, a prerequisite for enrolment. This will allow over 500,000 active installations with Honeywell Elster meters to be migrated.

The number of smart meters on the DCC systems is growing steadily, and this means that the number of customers that should retain smart functionality when switching supplier is also growing. However, this does rely on the supplier being a DCC User, and Ofgem has recently issued draft final orders to nine suppliers which have failed to do so, threatening the non-compliant suppliers with a ban on taking on customers, and licence revocations.

Smart meters are expected to bring a range of benefits to consumers and the industry, and while the work to get meters communicating through the DCC finally appears to be gathering pace, there is still much to be done before smart metering works for everyone as intended. The latest figures from BEIS for Q3 2019 suggest that only around 28% of domestic meters are operating in smart mode, and with the rollout set to be extended for another four years, it may be some time before efforts can be fully focused on ensuring the mainstream uptake of smart-enabled initiatives such as load control, smart electric vehicle charging, and time-of-use tariffs.

Our Domestic Smart Metering Market Report regularly tracks the progression of the smart meter rollout and the regulatory developments impacting on it. To find out more please contact Rowan Hazell at r.hazell@cornwall-insight.com or call 01603 542128.