The latest figures from the DCC suggest that about 800,000 SMETS2 meters are now hanging successfully on customer walls across the country. It’s a big number. A lot of Smarties, as Billy Connolly might say. But…..

Actually, it’s a number that reflects both the glacial uptake of smart meters and the fact that SMETS2 installations have stalled for many small suppliers.

Apparently, there may be a solution on the horizon. Utility Week report that Eon’s political and regulatory affairs officer, Sara Vaughan, sees hope in electric vehicles:

“One of the things that we are hoping is that electric vehicles (EVs) will be the key that unlocks this as people begin to engage with EVs then they will engage more with their energy.”

The ‘this’ she is referring to is consumers wanting smart meters. Apparently, people have been believing the bad press about SMETS2. Mmm, so now companies and the government want people to stop believing what they read in the corporate press. No irony there, then. 

In the meantime – before we all order our Teslas, I suppose – she also wants to see opting out from receiving a smart meter as the default rather than opting in. Making the population smart by decree sounds like a good idea, especially with all the government’s cuts to education, but I suspect I may be missing the point. I’m obviously not smart enough.

If you consider the original SMETS2 roll-out dates of mid-2018, 800,000 meters represents a fairly poor exchange rate (as it were). There are an estimated 25.4 million electric meters and 21 million gas meters in the UK. Let’s call it 46 million meters to be changed to SMETS2. A year on from the first ‘deadline’, we’ve managed to convert 1.74% of the nation’s meters.

A rate of 1.74% a year – or even 5% — is clearly not going to see SMETS2 dominating domestic metering systems for some years to come, however quickly we convince all those without cars now to splurge on an electric vehicle.

A big number, then, but a small percentage and an even bigger sign of the need for some serious examination of the how, what, and why of the current SMETS2 roll-out.

Graham Stewart

Cloud KB Limited