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Half of Britain’s meters smart by end of 2021


Half of Britain’s meters smart by end of 2021

By Jonathan Spencer Jones -Mar 10, 2022

27.8 million smart or advanced meters were in place at homes and small businesses in Britain at the end of 2021, the government has reported.

During 2021, 3.8 million smart meters were installed in the rollout, amounting to a 7% increase, the majority by the large suppliers.

Of the smart and advanced meter base, almost 85% – 23.6 million – were operating in smart mode or as advanced meters at the end of the year, with the remainder operating in the traditional mode.

Broken down by customers, at the domestic level 15 million of the 28.9 million electricity meters and 11.2 million of the 23.9 million gas meters were smart at the end of 2021, with 12.8 million and 9.2 million respectively operating in smart mode.

Of these also, 13% were in prepayment mode, broadly in line with the 14% level of prepayment meters in the market.

At the smaller non-domestic sites, 1.2 million of the 2.5 million electricity meters and 0.4 million of the 0.8 million gas meters were smart, with the majority operating in the smart mode.

The government notes in the report that while the increase in 2021 was 19% up on 2020, Covid related restrictions prevailed during the year and that the installations remain lower than the pre-Covid levels.

The statistics also highlight the dominance of the large suppliers in the market, with 99% of the domestic meters and 77% of the non-domestic meters. In the case of the domestic market, this particularly high level is due to the failure of numerous small suppliers as gas prices increased and the subsequent transfer of their customers to the larger suppliers.

The definition for large suppliers has also been updated for end 2021, requiring at least 150,000 metering points compared with the previous minimum of 250,000 metering points

The report also notes that the first generation SMETS1 standard meters are now being enrolled remotely onto the national communications network, run by the Data Communications Company (DCC), which should enable consumers to regain and keep smart services if they switch supplier.

Priority is being given to those that have temporarily lost smart functionality, e.g. on switching supplier.

The second generation SMETS2 meters, which are now the default choice, are connected to the DCC’s network from the point of installation, so are already compatible between energy suppliers.