The Data Communications Company (DCC) has set out a five-year plan for deploying smart meters.
The organisation, which is leading the design, build, test and integration of the data and communications infrastructure needed to connect smart meters with energy suppliers and network operators, says it will develop its secure data network to make the UK more connected, enable consumers to be more sustainable, facilitate faster switching and boost innovation.
It notes while its immediate priority remains maintaining the smart meter deployment rate of 20 units being installed per minute, it will also deliver a range of other improvements, such as dual-band communications hubs to connect with smart meters in blocks of flats or homes with thicker walls.
The report commits to making smart meters available to every household, promising to “extend coverage in a cost effective way to the remaining properties that do not have a signal”.
It adds: “By 2021, our Communication Services Providers will have delivered the maximum contracted coverage levels of at least 99.5% in the North Region and at least 99.25% in the Central and South Regions.”
It also plans to bring first-generation meters (SMETS1) onto its centralised network, solving the issue of meters potentially losing their functionality when an energy supplier changes.
The DCC also plans to develop a faster and more reliable switching service meaning consumers can change suppliers seamlessly within one working day, as well as pushing innovation and encouraging competition to reduce the unit cost to its customers.
It claims its secure network will not only enable the shift to energy technologies of the future, such as electric vehicles and smart grids but could also revolutionise sectors such as healthcare by monitoring vulnerable people in their homes.
DCC CEO Angus Flett said: “Over the past year we have made some impressive progress – we are now at 1.6 million second-generation meters and the faster switching programme has started its design, build, test phase.
“This five-year plan sets out how working with our customers we will bring cost savings and innovation to this platform for good. This work reaffirms the DCC’s purpose of making Britain more connected so we can all live smarter, greener lives.”