Despite disruptions caused by the pandemic on smart meter deployment, the UK has managed to double the number of units connected to the country’s network in the past 12 months.
According to reports released by the Data Communications Company, the UK’s smart meter installations and connection to the DCC network recovered from COVID-19 disruptions with rollout improving to pre-pandemic levels by the beginning of the second lockdown in the UK. Daily installation rates improved to reach almost 20,000 per working day.
Almost 4 million smart meters were migrated to the DCC network between 2020 and 2021, increasing the number of smart meters using the network to 13 million units from 11 million units as of 31 March 2021. Up to 8.5 million units currently on DCC’s network are second-generation ‘SMETS2’ meters.
The 13 million milestone means the UK is now able to avoid more than 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum and help residential and business customers save £347 million ($481.8 million).
Whilst the connection of the smart meters onto the network expanded, the DCC also increased the coverage of the IoT connectivity platform. Network coverage expanded further over the year, and now reaches 99.3% of premises in Britain, according to a statement.
Richard McCarthy, DCC Chairman, said: “I am most proud of the progress we’ve made in facilitating the over-the-air migration of the country’s first generation of smart meters onto our network. This has been a significantly challenging and highly technical undertaking, with thousands of device and software combinations. It represents one of the largest ever IT migrations in a live environment.
The DCC plans to increase the number of smart meters on its network to 20 million.
Angus Flett, the CEO of DCC, added: “Our drive for the coming period will be to make further improvements for energy consumers by supporting the migration of the remaining first-generation smart meters onto our network, and to deliver a new, faster and more reliable switching service.”
The DCC says it will also focus on procuring a new 4G communications hub to futureproof the network in the coming year. This will enable DCC’s communications network to be upgraded to meet the 12 to 15-year smart meter asset life. The upgrade will also help improve network coverage for consumers in the North of Britain.