In this week’s Gossage, we take a look at the problems plaguing the smart meter roll-out for businesses, and what can be done to fix it once and for all.
Sophisticated metering offers businesses great benefits for several reasons, but smart meters are required by companies to be enrolled into the central data and communications hub (DCC), which is being run by the ubiquitously loss-making Crapita. Costs for this are currently forecast to be 103% higher than the original bid.
However, for businesses with DCC-enrolled smart meters across multiple sites, that requirement can present unnecessary challenges. Businesses can physically go to each site and collect the data. Or they can try and build an interface into the DCC, which will cost about £1 million on average. Or they can simply ask their supplier for the data.
Right now, suppliers which buy, sell and bill for energy, don’t have appropriate incentives, or may simply lack the resources to undertake this role effectively. So, the smart metering programme, as it stands, erects barriers for businesses in gaining access to their own data. That is a very retrograde step.
This problem could be solved by allowing a supplier to offer to install advanced meters for all business customers, and crucially for those installations to count against the supplier’s overall smart meter obligations.
Give suppliers that incentive and it should prompt them to remind businesses that they too have a choice. Commercial customers really do not have to lock themselves into an expensive platform that sacrifices independent access to data.