We need to stop ducking the issue. The question is no longer whether or not we will make the deadline of 53 million smart meters in every home by 2020 but whether 2023 is even viable. Installation rates are now so low, so labour intensive and so costly that they’re wiping out the very savings smart meters were supposed to generate, and could actually increase consumers’ energy bills! The post-rationalised arguments by some in the industry that these delays are in fact a good thing, because otherwise we would all have SMETS1 meters in our homes is in our opinion nothing short of bizarre. Unless we do something constructive to get this roll out back on track now, I genuinely believe you will be reading a blog like this in four years time.

Installers have for some considerable time been warning us all about the issues they are facing. So let’s ruffle a few feathers and ask the question, “How many people does it really take to install a smart meter?” Too many, installers will tell you, which is why the smart meter roll out is taking too long and costing too much. The National Audit Office (NAO) agrees and has warned that the government’s original ambition of offering a smart meter to every home by 2020 will not be met and the cost of rollout will rise. However, this is not a problem you can solve with yet another recruitment drive. Rather than recruitment, we think the core of the problem lies in the lack of automated validation for commissioning and installation. This prevents swift on-site device validation, resulting in lengthy manual checking by staff back at head office. Consequently, instead of a potential successful installation rate of 6 homes per day, meter installers are averaging less than 2.5.

Meter installers need rapid, automated validation at the point of installation carried out by a single operative on-site. At Cloud KB, we saw this coming two years ago and that’s why we’ve developed and launched MATS – the first universal SMETS2 Meter Asset Tracking Android App, designed to double meter installation rates and halve costs by liberating smart meter engineers to carry out 100% device validation on-site independently, without the need for head office support.

Access Install and other installers all agree MATS is exactly what engineers on-site really need. It’s a purpose-built, industry-wide solution that’s fully compatible with all DCC Adapters, specifically designed for installers on-site. With MATS they can manage both RGMA gas & DTN electric smart meter data flows, inventory and appointed assets in one system. It interfaces seamlessly with any workflow management and scheduling systems used by energy suppliers or meter installers – all via the Cloud.

  • Fully Compatible with All DCC Adapters and All Android Devices
  • Manage RGMA Gas & DTN Electric Flows In One System
  • Manage The Inventory Lifecycle
  • 100% Device Validation Eliminates Exceptions
  • Update Work, Industry, Inventory & Asset Flows
  • Manage Traditional & Custom Data Flows
  • Add New Data Flows When You Need To, Using Our Dynamic Mapping
  • View Full Audit Trails of All Data In & Out of Your System
  • Simple, Flexible & Easy To Use – Download & Go
  • Works With Your Scheduling & Reporting Systems

In tests MOAs and MAPS have found that MATS 100% device validation system consistently eliminates exceptions, doubling successful installation / commissioning rates and halving labour costs. MATS has certainly captured the attention of the market. Some have argued that if it were adopted as the industry-wide standard, it could put the government’s smart metering programme back on track and back on budget. We might have to duck and dive on that one but certainly 2023 would become a much more viable target with MATS.

Kevin Bird

Managing Director

Cloud KB Limited