Smart meter transition and the Data Communications Company (DCC)

About the programme

Smart metering brings immediate benefits to consumers, helping them to take control of their energy usage, and is a key enabler for the transition to a more flexible energy market and the delivery of net zero emissions by 2050. It give consumers near real time information on energy use – expressed in pounds and pence – so they can better manage their energy use, save money and reduce emissions.

Smart meters will also bring an end to estimated billing, meaning consumers will only be billed for the energy they actually use, helping them budget better.

Energy suppliers are responsible for installing smart metering equipment, consisting of a smart electricity meter, a smart gas meter, a communications hub and an in-home display at no upfront cost.

We are responsible for regulating suppliers’ compliance with their smart metering obligations. We also regulate the Data Communications Company (DCC), including through a price control.

We have published a short smart metering licence guide to help stakeholders navigate and understand the rules relating to smart and advanced metering. This guide is intended as a helpful tool only, and does not modify or replace the conditions in the gas and electricity supply licences.

The SMICoP (Smart Meter Installation Code of Practice) sets out the minimum standards suppliers are required to follow in relation to customer facing aspects of smart meter installations, and include specific requirements relating to vulnerable consumers.

Smart meter installation timelines

Energy suppliers are required to take all reasonable steps to rollout smart meters to all of their domestic and small business customers by the end of December 2021.

From January 2022 all gas and electricity suppliers will have binding annual installation targets to roll out smart and advanced meters to their remaining non-smart customers by the end of 2025. 

Suppliers must publish their annual targets on their websites. Each year the annual targets are re-set based on the proportion of a supplier’s customer base without a smart or advanced meter.

If you are interested in the number of smart meters installed and operated in Great Britain, please see the Smart Meter Statistics that the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero publishes every quarter.

If you are a consumer and would like more information about smart meters and the rollout, please see our getting a smart meter page. 

Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is a not-for-profit organisation established to lead the national consumer engagement campaign for smart meters. It is independent of government, it is not an energy supplier and it does not fit smart meters.

Smart Energy GB’s role is to inform everyone, including low-income, vulnerable and prepay customers, how to use their smart meter and understand its benefits. Further information on the benefits of smart meters, what they are and how they work, is available on the Smart Energy GB website.

The Data Communications Company (DCC)

Part of Capita PLC, the DCC is a monopoly company that operates under the Smart Meter Communications Licence, which is regulated by Ofgem. It is responsible for linking smart meters in homes and small businesses with energy suppliers, network operators and energy service companies.

The DCC is needed to ensure that the smart metering system as a whole works smoothly and that the enduring and full benefits of smart meters are realised. 

DCC Price Control

We undertake an annual price control to review whether the DCC’s reported costs are economic and efficient. We also provide incentives for the DCC to deliver higher quality services and performance levels. 

The future of the DCC

The DCC were first granted a licence in 2013. Now that the network is up and running, we are carrying out a review of DCC regulatory framework to ensure that it remains fit for purpose to underpin DCC's role over the period 2025-40.

You can read all publications relating to the Smart Meter Communication Licence and the DCC in the company publications library.

Smart Energy Code (SEC)

The SEC is an industry code that 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.

Read more about the Smart Energy Code (SEC) in our Industry codes and standards section. We issue all decisions relating to the code in the code decisions and notices library in our Industry code publications section. 

Publications and updates