Second Gen Smart Meter Take Up Hits 5M Mark

Smart meter installation

Installation rate now nearing where it was prior to lockdown.

More than five million second-generation SMETS2 smart meters have now been installed in UK homes, according to the Data Communications Company (DCC).

The milestone was reached with the installation of an electricity smart meter by Bulb Energy in Lincoln on the morning of Monday, 7th September 2020.

Around 21.5 million smart meters have been installed in total since their government-endorsed rollout began in 2011. However, until recently these would have been first-generation SMETS1 meters, which would often lose connectivity when customers switched energy suppliers.

According to figures from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), around 18% of households with SMETS1 meters were left with devices that still display readings, but are unable to communicate with the network, rendering these formerly smart meters ‘dumb’.

The second-generation SMETS2 meters avoid this and continue to retain full smart functionality, even if customers switch energy providers.

Smart meter installation rate on the rise again

Although many suppliers paused meter installations and furloughed engineers as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and social distancing rules restricted home visits, their take-up is on the rise once again, following the ease in lockdown restrictions.

More than 750,000 meters were fitted during the lockdown period and the installation rate is now nearing where it was prior to the start of the pandemic.

The top ten areas to adopt the new technology so far are:

  1. Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire (36%)
  2. South Derbyshire (36%)
  3. Wokingham, Berkshire (35%)
  4. Hart, Hampshire (35%)
  5. Rugby, Warwickshire (35%)
  6. North West Leicestershire (35%)
  7. North Kesteven, Lincolnshire (35%)
  8. Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire (34%)
  9. Mansfield, Nottinghamshire (34%)
  10. Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire (34%)

* Data generated using ONS local authority household data, crossed-matched with DCC installation data.

More than a third of UK homes fitted with SMETS2 meters

Data Communications Company CEO, Angus Flett, said: “Despite difficult circumstances, the pace of the smart meter rollout has recovered well during lockdown, with one million meters being installed since February. This is testament to the hard work of our customers – the energy suppliers and distributors – who found new ways of working which allowed installs to continue in a safe way.

“Britain is more concerned about its carbon impact than ever before and the appetite for this greening technology remains strong. Our data shows that in the front-runner localities, more than a third of homes now have a second-generation meter.

“Our network is a platform for good and the data flowing across it is paving the way for better use of renewable energy. The DCC is making Britain more connected so we can all lead smarter, greener lives.”

How can I upgrade to a SMETS2 smart meter?

The good news is that the DCC plans to eventually upgrade all first-generation SMETS1 meters to the same network used by SMETS2 meters. This will be a ‘remote upgrade’, so there should be no need for an engineer to visit and install anything - it will happen automatically.

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