Guidance

Smart meters: information for industry and other stakeholders

Industry representatives, consumer organisations and other bodies provide advice and expertise on important issues regarding smart meters.

Overview

The support of a wide range of stakeholders is critical for the success of the smart metering implementation programme. As part of a programme of stakeholder engagement, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has set up a number of working groups to enable representatives from industry, consumer organisations and other bodies to provide advice and expertise on a range of key issues.

Regulatory framework for smart metering

Overall approach to regulation

The GB energy sector is regulated primarily through the Electricity Act 1989 and Gas Act 1986, both of which have been amended on numerous occasions to reflect developments in government policy. These Acts prohibit a number of activities, such as the supply of electricity, except under licence. Licence holders are then required to comply with the relevant conditions contained within their licence; non-compliance with these conditions is enforceable by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority or Ofgem. Below these licence conditions sit a number of industry codes which contain the technical and commercial obligations that govern participation in licensed activities.

Significant changes to this regulatory framework will need to be made in order to achieve the government’s vision for every home - and smaller non-domestic premises - to have smart metering equipment. These changes will include:

  • amendments to existing energy licences and industry codes, for example to require suppliers to roll out smart meters by a date in 2020, and consequential changes to legislation, licences and codes
  • the introduction of a new licensable activity relating to communications between suppliers and other parties and smart meters in consumer premises and the appointment of a data and communications company to carry out this licensed activity
  • the introduction of a new Smart Energy Code; this will set out the rules, right and obligations for all parties for the new enduring metering arrangements in Great Britain

Process for carrying out regulatory change

The government will, after appropriate consultation, make the regulatory changes that are necessary to implement these arrangements, principally using powers conferred on the Secretary of State by the Energy Act 2008 and extended by the Energy Act 2011. These powers provide for the Secretary of State to make changes to legislation, licences and codes, and to introduce a new licensable activity for the purposes of supporting the roll-out of smart meters. These changes will be made in a number of phases over the duration of the smart metering implementation programme. Further information will be published on this webpage as appropriate.

Licence conditions for roll-out and technical specifications of smart metering equipment

Supplier licence conditions will require the roll-out of smart metering equipment by a specified date, including, where relevant, an obligation to provide an in-home display (IHD). Proposals for changes to the licence conditions are set out in the consultation on draft licence conditions and technical specifications for the roll-out of gas and electricity smart metering equipment. (This consultation closed on 13/10/ 2011). It is envisaged that the licence conditions will be laid before Parliament in the first half of 2012.

The government proposes that suppliers must take all reasonable steps to install smart metering equipment which meets the requirements of the smart metering equipment technical specifications (SMETS). A consultation on SMETS, including on the recommendations made in the industry’s draft technical specifications (IDTS) Industry’s Draft Technical Specifications (IDTS) (PDF, 3.56MB, 297 pages) and on several remaining technical issues, is under way.

Regulatory changes for establishing and licensing the Data and Communications Company (DCC)

Regulatory changes will be required for establishing and licensing the DCC – the entity that will coordinate communications between smart metering equipment in domestic consumers’ homes and authorised smart metering data users.

The work of the Data and Communications Company Group [archived page], which is no longer active, are now carried out by the Smart Meter Regulation Groups.

Smart Energy Code

The Smart Energy Code, spanning gas and electricity supply, will be established to provide arrangements for the introduction and ongoing operation of the end-to-end smart metering system. Among other things, the Code will detail the relationships between the DCC and the users of its services as well as between users. Energy suppliers, network operators and other users of the DCC’s services will be required to comply with the Code.

Further regulatory changes

The government is also considering regulation in a number of other areas which the introduction of smart metering may necessitate, including with regard to consumer engagement, privacy and data security. The government has so far launched a consultation on licence conditions for a code of practice for the installation of smart electricity and gas meters (closing date: 10/11/2011) and a call for evidence on data access and privacy. (This closed on 13/10/2011). Depending on the outcome of the current and future rounds of the smart metering implementation programme consultations, it may be necessary to undertake further regulatory changes.

Any necessary consequential changes to existing legislation, licences and codes

The government expects there to be a number of consequential changes to legislation, licences and codes relating to the smart metering implementation programme and will be consulting on these as necessary.

Smart Meter Regulation Groups

The smart metering implementation programme has recently restructured how it will be delivering the smart metering regulatory framework, as well as reviewing how it can best engage with key stakeholders on regulatory issues.

In November 2011, a Smart Meter Regulation Group (SMRG) and 4 working groups were established to undertake specific tasks to feed into the programme. The SMRG structure replaces the Data and Communications Company Group and sub-group structure, the documentation and papers for which are still available for reference.

Read more about the SMRG.

Implementation Coordination Group

The Implementation Coordination Group (ICG) was set up following publication of the prospectus and is a high-level forum, providing a strategic view of the full range of implementation issues.

Read more about the ICG.

Overall Design Advisory Group

With the smart metering programme moving into its delivery phase, there is an increasing need to address cross-cutting and end-to-end issues. The programme requires advice from stakeholders on these issues and so the Overall Design Advisory Group (ODAG) has been set up to provide the vehicle to achieve this.

Read more about the ODAG.

The ODAG replaces the Smart Metering Design Group (SMDG). You can read archived information about the SMDG.

Solution Design Advisory Group

The Solution Design Advisory Group (SDAG) will enable the Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP) to continue to draw upon the experience of industry participants and other stakeholders. SDAG will focus on the end-to-end solution, that is ICT solutions, equipment, business processes.

Find out more about the SDAG.

Business Process Design Group

Operation of the retail electricity and gas markets is enabled by sets of business processes and information flows, defined in documents such as the Master Registration Agreement (electricity) and the Uniform Network Code (gas). These processes cover arrangements for change of supplier/shipper, the appointment of metering agents and the flow of information into the wholesale energy settlement routines.

The introduction of smart metering will introduce new flows of information between suppliers and smart meters, and simplify some of the existing business processes. New processes will also be required covering the installation of smart metering equipment and the linking of new devices to existing smart metering equipment. These new arrangements will be documented in the Smart Energy Code and consequential changes to existing codes and agreements.

The Business Process Design Group (BPDG) has been formed to specify the new processes, activities and information flows and the changes needed to existing arrangements.

Read more about the BPDG.

Smart Metering SMETS Stakeholder Advisory Group (SSAG)

The consultation on draft licence conditions and technical specifications for the rollout of gas and electricity smart metering equipment was published in August 2011. As part of this consultation the smart metering implementation programme (SMIP) advised it would be undertaking further work to finalise the smart metering equipment technical specifications (SMETS).

The Smart Metering SMETS Stakeholder Advisory Group (SSAG) will provide a means of obtaining stakeholder input into the work that SMIP indicated it would perform following consultation, and to provide technical expertise to support the formulation of policy responses.

Read more about SSAG

Smart Meter Foundation Strategy Group

The Smart Meter Foundation Strategy Group (FSG) will be the parent group of two working groups covering the Foundation Interim Operating Model (FIOM) and the Foundation Testing and Trialling Strategy (FTTS). In addition, the programme intends to undertake workshops to establish requirements and approach to feedback and learning during Foundation. The FSG will have oversight of this; dependent on the results of those workshops, the programme may extend that activity to become another working group under FSG.

Read more about FSG.

Foundation Interim Operating Model (FIOM)

FIOM will provide input into both the Testing strategy and implementation for enduring solution and the trialing activities during foundation. Please note that this is for the interim operating model, for use with the smart change of supplier in the foundation stage of the programme.

FIOM Interim Operating Model

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Read more about FIOM

Foundation Testing and Trialling Strategy Group (FTTS)

The Foundation Testing and Trialling Strategy Group (FTTS) provides input into both the testing and trialling strategies, to help provide a strategic direction for these aspects of the end to end delivery cycle of the smart meters programme. The group makes recommendations to the Foundation Strategy Group (FSG) for these areas.

Read more about FTTS.

Consumer Engagement and Roll-out Group

The Consumer Engagement and Roll-out group (CERG) provides a forum to discuss all consumer-facing issues relating to the smart meter programme, including benefits realisation.

Read more about CERG.

Consumer Advisory Group

The Consumer Advisory Group is responsible for making sure consumer interests remain at the heart of the smart metering implementation programme

Read more about the Consumer Advisory Group.

Data and Communications Company services procurement

Communication of data to and from smart meters in the domestic sector will be managed centrally by a new, GB-wide function covering both the electricity and gas sectors. We refer to this new function as the central Data and Communications Company (DCC). The new DCC function will provide a two-way communications channel between smart meters and a central communications hub to which smart meter data users (energy suppliers, network companies and other authorised third parties) will have access for specified purposes. In order for DCC to provide services to its users, it will be required to contract for a number of IT (data) and communication services.

DCC will be a licensed entity responsible for the procurement and contract management of the service providers providing these data and communications services. DCC will be required to be independent from its providers of data and communications services.

To expedite the rollout of smart meters, the licence tendering of DCC will be conducted in parallel to the procurement of its service providers, who will be appointed through open competition in a procurement process managed by DECC.

DECC’s service provider procurement project is responsible for developing the robust and transparent procurement process necessary to enable the successful award of the initial DCC data and communications service providers that deliver the most economically advantageous solution for the UK.

A formal competitive dialogue process with prospective service providers is being progressed. This process will continue into 2013.

If you have any queries or require more information please email the DCC Services Procurement Team at dcc.services.procurement@decc.gsi.gov.uk.

DCC service provider procurement project documentation Published Response requested by
DCC Communications Services Contract Notice 26/08/2011 14/10/2011
DCC Data Services Contract Notice 26/08/2011 14/10/2011
Industry day record of event 23/06/2011 n/a
Project Information Memorandum (PIM) for the procurement of data and communication services. Includes DCC services questionnaire 07/06/2011 28/06/2011
Prior Information Notice (PIN) 148947–2011 12/05/2011 01/06/2011

Industry’s draft technical specifications

In March 2011, [DECC and Ofgem published the Response to the prospectus consultation](/government/admin/news/59810], which set out the planned approach to the design of the new obligations on energy suppliers to install smart metering equipment. It was announced government would commission and facilitate the work of industry experts (the Smart Metering Design Group – SMDG) to develop draft technical specifications.

The industry’s draft technical specifications is the main output of this process.

Industry’s Draft Technical Specifications (IDTS)

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The government’s introductory document

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The government’s introductory document (above):

  • provides an overview of the documents the SMDG has produced
  • explains how the smart metering implementation programme facilitated the SMDG’s work
  • describes how the government plans to review and develop the specifications to ensure they meet the programme’s needs

Organisations represented on SMDG

  • Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)
  • Association of Meter Operators (AMO)
  • British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA)
  • British Gas
  • Consumer Focus
  • EDF Energy
  • Energy Networks Association (ENA)
  • Energy Retail Association (ERA)
  • Eon-UK
  • Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA)
  • First Utility
  • Gemserv
  • Good Energy
  • Industrial and Commercial Shippers and Suppliers (ICoSS)
  • Intellect UK
  • Office of Communications (Ofcom)
  • RWE Npower
  • Society of British Gas Installers
  • Scottish Power
  • Scottish and Southern Energy
  • Utilita
  • Office of Gas & Electricity Markets (Ofgem)

Smart Metering Design Working Groups (Industry Working Groups)

The Smart Meter Design Working Groups were established in the run-up to the UK Government announcement in March 20011 of its strategy and timetable for the installation of Smart Meters across Britain.

The working groups continue the work of the previous Smart Meter Design Group (SMDG) sub-groups but each working group will focus on a specific aspect of the Smart Meter System, with each developing in detail a particular component of the overall smart meter specification.

18 working groups were established, each resourced by Industry subject matter experts (SMEs) and guided by programme staff and security specialists from the Programme’s Security Technical Experts Group (STEG).

The SMDG and a new industry group, the Planning, Drafting and Operations Group (PDOG), oversees the working groups and reviews their outputs. Working Groups, SMDG and PDOG operate in an advisory capacity and hold no decision-making powers.

From June 2011, working groups were concentrated into a ‘hothouse’ environment to produce the smart meter specification.

Structure diagram of the Working Groups

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Smart Meter design Working Groups

  • Home Area Network (HAN)
  • Smart Meter Tariffs
  • Prepayment Smart Meters
  • Application Layer
  • Smart Meter Installation & Maintenance
  • Smart Gas Meter Variants
  • Smart Electricity Meter Variants
  • Smart Meter Microgeneration
  • Difficult Property types / Meter Positions
  • In-Home Display (IHD)
  • Smart Meter Interoperability
  • Consumer Access to Smart Meter Data
  • Smart Meter Data Modelling
  • Smart Gas Meter Battery Life
  • (Smart Meter) Extended Statement of Design Requirements (ESoDR)
  • Normative References for Smart Meters
  • Smart Meter System Architectures
  • Smart Meter Use Cases

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