Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They are part of our plan for upgrading the UK’s energy system.
We aim for all homes and small businesses to have smart meters by 2020. Energy suppliers will be required to install smart meters and take all reasonable steps to install them for everybody.
Consumers with smart meters will be offered an in-home display (IHD) that lets them see how much energy they are using and what it will cost. This will let them have more control over their energy use and help them save energy and money.
Between now and 2020 energy suppliers will be responsible for replacing over 53 million gas and electricity meters. This will involve visits to 30 million homes and small businesses.
Smart meters will give consumers:
- near real-time information on energy use, expressed in pounds and pence
- the ability to manage their energy use, save money and reduce emissions
- an end to estimated billing – people will only be billed for the energy they actually use, helping them to budget better
- easier switching – it will be smoother and faster to switch suppliers to get the best deals
Smart meters also give suppliers access to accurate data for billing, removing the need to manually read meters.
We are making sure consumers will be protected when smart meters are installed in properties. Our provisions to ensure this mean:
- there will be no sales during the installation visit
- installers must provide energy efficiency advice as part of their visit and they will need permission before the visit if they will want to discuss their own products
- consumers’ privacy will be protected and they will have control over their smart meter data
- we have a programme in place to build confidence in our system and improve consumers’ understanding of how smart meters work
A smart meter can work in pre-payment or credit mode. Pre-payment customers will see some particular benefits from having a smart meter. For example:
- energy suppliers may offer new and more flexible ways of topping up their meter including the ability to top up over the phone or online
- the smart meter can be set so that consumers do not run out of credit at night and won’t be left without power when the shops shut
Find out more by visiting Smart meters: a guide.
Most householders will have smart meters installed by their energy company between 2015 and 2020, although some energy companies are starting to install smart meters now.
Roll-out of smart meters
The roll-out of smart meters will take place in 3 stages.
Policy design stage
Find out more about the decisions taken in this stage.
The foundation stage began in March 2011. We are working with industry, consumer groups and others to prepare for the second stage, which is the main installation stage. The foundation stage will let industry:
- build and test systems
- learn what works best for consumers
- learn how to help people get the best from their meters
During this stage we will also established the Data and Communications Company (DCC), which will provide data and communications services for smart metering nationwide.
Main installation stage
The stage when most consumers will have SMs installed and will start in late 2015 and end by the end of 2020.
Costs and funding
Over the period to 2030, the installation of smart meters will provide £6.2 billion net benefits to the UK: the programme will cost £10.9 billion and provide £17.1 billion in benefits.
Award of DCC Licence: 23 September 2013
Arrangements have been completed today to establish and operate the smart metering Data and Communications Company (DCC). This represents a significant milestone in the roll-out of smart meters across Great Britain.
The Data and Communications Company is responsible for linking 53 million smart electricity and gas meters in homes and small businesses with the business systems of energy suppliers, network operators and energy service companies.
Stakeholders we work with
The smart metering programme works with a wide range of organisations, including energy suppliers, networks, consumers groups and regulators. More information about this work:
- Consumer Focus
- British Gas
- EDF Energy
- Energy Networks Association
- Scottish Power
- Southern Electric
- First Utility
How we work with stakeholders
We have set up working groups for representatives from industry, consumer organisations and other bodies:
- Smart Meter Regulation Group 1 – DCC Licensing
- Smart Meter Regulation Group 2 – Smart Energy Code
- Smart Meter Regulation Group 3 – Non-Domestic Regulation
- Smart Meter Regulation Group 4 – Consequential Changes
- Implementation Coordination Group (ICG)
- Overall Design Advisory Group (ODAG)
- Business Process Design Group (BPDG)
- SMETS Stakeholder Advisory Group (SSAG)
- Foundation Strategy Group (FSG)
- Foundation Interim Operating Model (FIOM)
- Foundation Testing and Trialling Strategy Group (FTTS)
- Consumer Engagement and Roll-out Group (CERG)
- Consumer Advisory Group (CAG)
The most recent publications relating to the Smart Meters programme include:
Smart metering: a guide for local authorities and third sector organisations - published on 29 January 2014.
- New Smart Energy Code content (Stage 3) consultation - published 16 December 2013
- New Smart Energy Code Content (Stage 2): consequential consultation on changes to the DCC licence - published 16 December 2013
- Regulatory arrangements for enrolment and adoption of Foundation Meters consultation - published 16 December 2013
- Smart Meters statistics - published 12 December 2013
- Smart Metering system and equipment testing: consultation response - published 2 December 2013
- Attitudes towards and experiences of smart meters in the non-domestic SME market - published 22 October 2013
- Consultations on licence conditions for the roll-out of smart meters - published 22 October 2013
- Consultation on the New Smart Energy Code Content (Stage 2) - published 17 October 2013
- Designation of the Smart Energy Code and charging methodology - published 23 September 2013
- Quantitative research into public awareness, attitudes, and experience of Smart Meters: Wave 3 - published 9 September 2013
Smart metering: a guide for local authorities and third sector organisations - published on 29 January 2014
Read the second annual progress report on the roll-out of smart meters - published on 18 December 2013
Read the Smart Metering System information leaflet - published on 8 October 2013
Read the Smart Metering non domestic leaflet - latest version published 12 July 2013.
Read the Smart metering implementation programme: information leaflet – latest version published 12 July 2013.
DECC has published a number of public consultations regarding the Smart Meters Programme.
The Smart Meter programme carries out regular impact assessments, which we will update as the programme develops.
Smart meter roll-out for the domestic and small and medium non-domestic sectors (GB) (published 30 January 2014)
Evidence and research
The evidence supporting the roll-out of smart energy meters in the UK is based on international and national research. Energy suppliers that are rolling out smart meters and consumer groups with an interest in the programme have also carried out related research.
DECC monitoring, evaluation and consumer research
DECC has produced the following research for the Smart Meter programme:
- Attitudes towards and experiences of smart meters in the non-domestic SME market
- Study on Access to Smart Meter Benefits for Blind and Partially Sighted Consumers
- Role of Community Groups in Smart Metering-Related Energy Efficiency Activities
- Quantitative research into public awareness, attitudes, and experience of Smart Meters: Wave 3
- Quantitative research into public awareness, attitudes, and experience of Smart Meters: Wave 2 of 3
- Quantitative research into public awareness, attitudes and experience of smart meters
- Smart meters: research into public attitudes
- Smart meter evaluation: consumer benefits workshop report
- Smart meter evaluation: lessons from EDRP
Ofgem has produced the following research on smart meters:
- Ofgem: Energy Demand Research Project
- Ofgem: Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF)
- Ofgem: smart metering consumer report
Research on smart meters from across the world includes: