Smart Metering: A Raw Deal for Businesses – Part II
Smart Metering rollout could lead to a complete loss of control over energy metering, data and services.
At the end of August, Government finally determined to extend the DCC’s monopoly into the smaller non-domestic market. Barring a couple of minor exceptions, from May 2018, Suppliers will only be able to offer SMETS2, DCC operated Smart meters. As we’ve warned before, this will create a major headache for many organisations and could lead to a complete loss of control over energy metering, data and services.
Limited engagement behind poor policy
Government engagement with businesses has been poor – unfortunately this means decisions are being taken without due consideration for business consumers. Restricting Suppliers to Smart metering means casting aside proven, compelling alternatives to SMETS2, specifically Advanced Metering (AMR). AMR supports the entire half-hourly market already, and is installed on over 25% of the business sites covered by the Smart Meter Roll-Out, as well as being proven at scale, interoperable and secure. Government’s approach is difficult to fathom.
Exceptions are too little, too late
There is some recognition that business needs are different to your everyday household, but the exceptions proposed are extremely limited. Government is consulting on a proposal to allow Suppliers to offer “large energy consumers” with over 3GWh annual electricity consumption the option to choose AMR. This is a move in the right direction but the threshold is far too narrow to benefit the majority of business consumers.
Thousands of SMEs are equally engaged with their energy, have selected AMR and are enjoying the benefits it brings. The remainder will be pressured into Smart. That means losing control over metering, losing direct access to energy data, and losing access to existing services.
Poorly considered regulation is taking us towards an environment where competition in energy metering and data services doesn’t exist. This turns the clock back to the 1980s – a world without incentive for innovation, high performance, cost control or customer service. Without alternatives, consumers are powerless to escape a likely expensive and poor quality service from a monopoly provider that isn’t interested in addressing individual requirements.
All is not lost, at least not yet. Industry is pushing back on this legislation. In the meantime our message remains the same. You have the right – protected in law – to have the metering and data arrangements of your choice. Use it.
Contact us today for more information on how we can help.