‘Slow pace of smart meter rollout hindering businesses’

Businesses have faced challenges while gearing up for the Government’s smart meter rollout and the “slow pace” has been the main hindrance. That’s according to Patrick Caiger-Smith (pictured), CEO of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Businesses have faced challenges while gearing up for the Government’s smart meter rollout and the “slow pace” has been the main hindrance.

That’s according to Patrick Caiger-Smith (pictured), CEO of Green Energy Options, which makes the technologies that connect to the home area network such as energy displays and mobile apps. He told ELN designs that firms have created “are not shipping in the volumes we’d like it to”.

Between now and 2015, installation trials are being undertaken to build and test business processes and find what works best for consumers. The government is working with industry and consumer groups to prepare for the mass roll-out, which includes setting up the data and communications infrastructure needed to read meters remotely and securely.

Copyright: Green Energy Options
Copyright: Green Energy Options
Mr Caiger-Smith said: “The challenges initially have been about interpreting the standards. The standards have been relatively high-level. When you dig down and peel the onion, there are more and more complications underneath. We just about got through those difficulties, now we’re interoperable with virtually every meter or console we’ve set.”

But he adds: “The second challenge has unquestionably been the pace of the rollout which has been so slow that a lot of the business cases that people put together to start with have never paid back and never made sense so the pace has definitely not been as quick as what anybody would have liked it to be.

“It naturally means designs that we’ve done are not shipping in the volumes that we would like it to. It means we have to have patient shareholders.”

Although some energy suppliers have started installing smart meters in homes and businesses, the official rollout doesn’t start until next year.