The Government policy to roll out smart metering across Great Britain over the coming decade has the potential to transform how energy markets operate. Consumers will have ready access to much more information, helping them use energy more efficiently. In addition, smart meters will enable the commercial development of new services, from advice through to smart appliances and home automation. Some of these services may involve options to manage demand at peak times as an alternative to building new network or generation capacity. Accurate, timely data from smart meters will also drive improvements to some of the central systems and processes that support market operation, such as the processes for a customer to switch to another electricity or gas supplier.
The Smarter Markets Directorate, established in April 2011, consolidates and gives a strategic focus to Ofgem’s work on metering and market processes through the transition to smart metering – such that we can effectively advocate and protect the long term interests of consumers. This involves leading Ofgem’s engagement with the Government’s Smart Metering Implementation Programme, and managing the regulatory issues associated with the run down of traditional metering. Over time, it will also involve taking on new regulatory functions to support smart metering.