The number of smart meter installations in homes fell by 2.2% between April and June compared with January to March, putting the government’s smart meter roll-out further behind. There have also been delays in rolling out a fix for some first-generation (SMETS1) smart meters, which often go ‘dumb’ when you switch supplier.
The figure comes from today’s smart meter report by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS). It’s not the first time that BEIS has reported a slowdown in installations in 2019: its first-quarter report for January to March revealed that domestic installations had decreased by 6.7% compared with figures from the end of 2018.
The government has committed to offering a smart meter to every home and small business in the UK by the end of 2020, saying that these installations are ‘An essential national energy infrastructure upgrade for Great Britain that will help make our energy system cheaper, more efficient and reliable.’
But the roll-out has been riddled with problems and delays, including the enrollment of first-generation smart meters onto the Data and Communications Company (DCC), meaning that some people are not experiencing the benefits promised to them when they had meters installed.
Read on to find out what this means for you, including what to do if your smart meter is ‘dumb’ or you want one installed. Or visit our full guide to smart meters.
Smart meter roll-out delays: what they mean for you
Although smart meters should help you to better monitor and manage your energy consumption, receive more accurate bills and switch supplier more easily, there is an inevitable impact on energy bills.
Completing the national roll-out is an enormous logistical and technical challenge for the energy industry, involving visits to around 30m homes and small businesses, and installing about 53m new meters.
This was predicted to have cost the average dual-fuel household £391 in total, but delays are likely to increase this. The cost to households has already risen by £17 since the government’s 2016 prediction.
Visit our page on the smart meter roll-out to find out more about the predicted timeline for its completion.
The difference between first-generation and second-generation smart meters
There are two types of smart meter: first (SMETS1) and second-generation (SMETS2). SMETS1 meters aren’t all fully compatible with the DCC network and switching supplier can cause it to revert to working like a ‘traditional’ meter, meaning you’ll have to submit meter readings again.
SMETS2 meters are designed to offer full functionality and work with the DCC network.
Work is currently being done to add some SMETS1 meters to the DCC network, which will mean they will retain smart functions when moving supplier. Energy companies were expected to start connecting meters in May 2019, but again there have been delays to this.
Here’s which first-generation smart meters will be enrolled and when:
- From end of June (delayed from 29 May as testing wasn’t complete): Aclara, some Honeywell Elster meters and some Itron meters
- From 30 September: some Honeywell Elster meters, Secure meters
- From 12 December: some Landis+Gyr meters, EDMI meters
This switchover will take time and it won’t be until the end of December 2020 that all meters will be upgraded.
By the end of June 2019, 1.3m SMETS2 meters had been installed; this is an increase of 4.25% compared with the first quarter of 2019.
For more information on what to do if your smart meter is dumb, read our article on how to switch your energy supplier and keep your smart meter smart.
Smart meter installation: what to do if you want one or want one replaced
If you want a smart meter installed or you want your ‘dumb’ smart meter replaced, contact your energy supplier.
Ask for a second-generation (SMETS2) meter, as this should future-proof you if you want to switch supplier and keep enjoying the benefits of the smarter system. You can read more about smart meter installations in our guide.
If you haven’t had a smart meter before, you can find out how they work in our video: