Transition to smart meters

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters and they offer a range of intelligent functions. This includes telling you how much energy you are using through a display in your home. They can also communicate directly with your energy supplier which means that no one will need to come and read your meter.

Smart meters offer a range of benefits for consumers. They:

  • give you near real time information on your energy use – expressed in pounds and pence
  • allow you to better manage your energy use (and can thereby help you save money and reduce emissions)
  • will mean consumers get accurate bills - you will only be billed for the energy you actually use

Smart meter roll-out

Rolling out 53 million gas and electricity meters to all homes and small businesses in Great Britain by the end of 2020 requires careful planning and management. Most households will have smart meters installed by their energy company between 2015 and 2020. To deliver this the government established a central change programme and asked us to manage the first phase, which was completed in March 2011.

Since April 2011, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been directly responsible for managing the implementation of the smart meter programme. We have been providing DECC with independent regulatory advice and expertise. We have also taken on additional regulatory functions to support smart metering.  We will continue to take on new functions, including regulation of the new Data and Communications Company (DCC).

Data and Communications Company (DCC)

The DCC is responsible for linking smart meters in homes and small businesses with the systems of energy suppliers, network operators and energy service companies.  DCC will develop and deliver the data and communications service through external providers.

DECC granted the DCC licence to Smart DCC Ltd, a subsidiary of Capita plc with effect from 23 September 2013. For further information please refer to GOV.UK website.

Smart Energy Code (SEC)

When DECC granted the DCC licence, stage 1 of the Smart Energy Code (SEC) also came into force. The SEC is a new industry code and sets out the terms for the provision of the DCC’s services and specifies other provisions to govern the end-to-end management of smart metering. Like other industry codes, we are responsible for approving any modifications to ensure consumers’ interests remain protected.
Some customers have had smart meters installed before the completion of the government’s regulatory framework for the smart meter roll-out. We have put in place measures to protect consumers who receive smart meters early. These include measures to:

  • support effective switching for domestic consumers that have smart meters installed
  • strengthen existing protections for domestic consumers, especially vulnerable consumers, in relation to disconnection and the use of meters operating in prepayment mode

The latest version of the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP) as well as other useful information (such as changes that have been made since it was first approved) can be found at the SMICoP website. This Code of Practice is an important consumer protection measure during the rollout of smart meters, setting out rules and standards of conduct for suppliers installing smart meters.

Smarter Markets Programme

Smart meters can enable reform to existing market arrangements, such as change of supplier processes, which can in turn make the market work better for consumers. Our Smarter Markets Programme aims to proactively identify, and see implemented, changes to these arrangements to enable the development of smarter markets.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 11th Feb 2016
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
The Authority withheld approval for Change request 031 to the SMICoP.

  • Published: 4th Feb 2016
  • Decisions
  • 9 Associated documents
This publication sets out our decision to repeal suppliers’ two-yearly meter inspection licence conditions.

  • Published: 29th Jan 2016
  • Open letters & correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This open letter seeks to outline our observations on suppliers' rollout plans and explain, at a high level, the next steps for suppliers in this preparation process.

  • Published: 14th Jan 2016
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
A change was proposed to the SMICoP to clarify how and when suppliers should self-certify with the SMICoP.

  • Published: 14th Jan 2016
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
A change was proposed to the SMICoP to amend the voting structure of the SMICoP Governance Board, and to clarify the definition of large and small suppliers in the context of the the SMICoP.

  • Published: 14th Jan 2016
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
A change was proposed to the SMICoP to clarify the Members to which the SMICoP applies, and the responsibilities those Members have with respect to the SMICoP.

  • Published: 8th Jan 2016
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This change request proposed to clarify suppliers’ obligations under the SMICoP when installing a smart meter under warrant. The Authority withheld approval of this change request on 8 January 2016.

  • Published: 7th Jan 2016
  • Closed: 4th Feb 2016
  • Consultations & responses
  • 3 Associated documents
On 24 December 2015 DCC submitted an updated charging statement to us. This was in the form that it expects to use for the regulatory year starting on 1 April 2016. We will consider whether to approve the form of the charging statement and we are seeking...

  • Published: 17th Dec 2015
  • Closed: 22nd Jan 2016
  • Consultations & responses
  • 2 Associated documents
A statutory consultation to place obligations on DCC to develop a Centralised Registration Service and to fund this activity. We also propose changes to introduce a penalty interest rate regime.

  • Published: 16th Nov 2015
  • Closed: 15th Dec 2015
  • Consultations & responses
  • 19 Associated documents
This document sets out our final policy proposal to repeal suppliers’ two-yearly meter inspection licence conditions, and consults on licence modifications to enact this policy.