Transition to smart meters

Smart meters give consumers near real time information on energy use – expressed in pounds and pence –  so that they will be able to 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.

The rollout of smart meters in Great Britain will open up new sources of flexibility and new ways in which consumers can engage with the market. We are open to innovation and new business models that seek to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

The rollout is being led by energy suppliers, who 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. Gas and electricity suppliers are required by their licence to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all of their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020.

If you are a consumer and would like more information about smart meters and the rollout, please see Smart meters: Your rights.

We are responsible for regulating suppliers’ compliance with their smart metering obligations, and we fully believe that smart meters have the potential to bring significant benefits to consumers. Our role is to:

  • protect the interests of consumers
  • monitor energy suppliers’ compliance with their smart metering licence obligations
  • 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.

If you are interested in the number of smart meters installed and operated in Great Britain, please see Smart Meters Statistics that shows quarterly updates by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Smart Meter Rollout key publications

This is a non-exhaustive list of our most recent publications related to the rollout.  

Smart Meter Rollout: DCC user mandate, future rollout plans and consumer experience

Smart Meter Rollout: DCC user mandate, future rollout plans and consumer experience

Published: 1st December 2017

This open letter sets out our position on compliance with the DCC user mandate, tolerance for 2018 and 2019 smart meter rollout milestones, future submissions of revised rollout plans and consumer engagement.

Suppliers' responsibilities and restrictions on domestic smart meter installation costs revised in light of changes to relevant Supply Licence Conditions

Suppliers' responsibilities and restrictions on domestic smart meter installation costs – revised in light of changes to relevant Supply Licence Conditions

Published: 27th Jul 2017

This sets out key licence conditions that will apply to suppliers seeking to recover additional costs from the installation of domestic smart meters.

Smart Meter Rollout: energy suppliers' progress and future plans

Smart Meter Rollout: energy suppliers' progress and future plans

Published: 26th Jun 2017

This open letter outlines our observations on suppliers' smart meter progress reports and rollout plans and looks ahead to the next phases of the rollout.

Decision to amend the framework for regulating large energy suppliers with respect to their smart meter rollout plans, and the setting of annual milestones

Decision to amend the framework for regulating large energy suppliers with respect to their smart meter rollout plans, and the setting of annual milestones

Published: 26th Jun 2017

We decided, following our January 2017 consultation, to amend the framework for regulating large energy suppliers with respect to revised roll-out plans and annual milestones in 2018.

The smart meter roll-out: Observations on suppliers’ rollout preparations

The smart meter roll-out: Observations on suppliers’ rollout preparations

Published: 15th Nov 2016

This letter sets out our general observations on both large and small suppliers’ 2016 smart meter rollout plans.

Guidance note on cooperation between competitors on the smart meter roll-out

Guidance note on cooperation between competitors on the smart meter roll-out

Published: 12 May 2016

This note recognises that significant consumer benefits could be delivered through sharing of best practice and provides general guidance on the potential risks of breaching competition law and some examples of how suppliers can reduce those risks.

The smart meter rollout: Observations on suppliers’ rollout preparations and small supplier rollout template guidance

The smart meter rollout: Observations on suppliers’ rollout preparations and small supplier rollout template guidance

Published: 29th January 2016

This letter sets out our general observations on suppliers’ 2016 smart meter rollout plans, and offers reporting guidance to small suppliers.

Decision on supplier reporting to Ofgem during the smart meter rollout

Decision on supplier reporting to Ofgem during the smart meter rollout

Published: 6th October 2014

Our decisions on supplier reporting annual milestones and wider rollout monitoring during the rollout.

Data and Communications Company (DCC)

A key element of the rollout in Great Britain is the development of a centralised smart metering communications infrastructure to send and receive information from smart meters to energy suppliers, energy network operators and energy service companies. This is being provided by the Data and Communications Company (DCC), which is operated by Capita PLC under a licence regulated by us. The DCC is needed to ensure that the enduring and full benefits from smart meters are realised, and that the smart metering system as a whole works smoothly once many millions of smart meters have been installed.

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.

 All active suppliers are required to accede to the Smart Energy Code (SEC) and become a Party to the code. This step must be completed before you begin the process of becoming a DCC user. If you have not already completed this process, you can find all the information on how to become a SEC Party on the SEC Website. The information checklist on what’s required to become a DCC user can be found here on the Smart Energy Code website.

If you have any further questions relating to the Smart Energy Code, or becoming a DCC user, you can also email the SEC Administrator directly at secas@gemserv.com.

Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP)

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. The latest version of the 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.

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, on how they can 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.

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: 1st Dec 2017
  • Decisions
  • 11 Associated documents
These Regulatory Instructions and Guidance (RIGs) are provided to Smart DCC to enable them to complete the reporting templates.

  • Published: 1st Dec 2017
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This open letter sets out our position on compliance with the DCC user mandate, future rollout plan submissions and consumer engagement.

  • Published: 26th Oct 2017
  • Closing: 21st Dec 2017
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
We review the costs, performance and relevant applications that DCC included in 16/17 price control submission and set out our proposals.

  • Published: 4th Sep 2017
  • Decisions
  • 2 Associated documents
This document and accompanying direction sets out our decision on the structure and implementation of DCC’s Operational Performance Regime.

  • Published: 27th Jul 2017
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This sets out key licence conditions that will apply to suppliers seeking to recover additional costs from the installation of domestic smart meters.

  • Published: 26th Jun 2017
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This open letter outlines our observations on suppliers' smart meter progress reports and rollout plans and looks forward to the next phases of the rollout.

  • Published: 26th Jun 2017
  • Decisions, Licence applications
  • 12 Associated documents
We have decided to amend the framework for regulating large energy suppliers with respect to their smart meter rollout plans, and the setting of annual milestones.

  • Published: 21st Jun 2017
  • Guidance
  • 2 Associated documents
This document is intended to inform stakeholders of the Authority’s approach to cost assessment under the DCC price control.

  • Published: 5th Jun 2017
  • Closed: 19th Jun 2017
  • Consultations and responses
  • 8 Associated documents
This letter outlines our minded to decision on the implementation of the DCC’s Operational Performance Regime (OPR) and asks for views on when to introduce the OPR and reporting arrangements for exceptional events.

  • Published: 24th Mar 2017
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter sets out the Authority’s decision to approve the form of the Charging Statement for Service Charges prepared by Smart DCC Limited and its reasons for that decision.

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