On 29th March, Ofgem published an open letter on suppliers’ delivery of the smart meter rollout and regulatory obligations.
Here at Calisen we are the leading owner and manager of essential energy infrastructure assets and a provider of installation, meter reading, electric vehicle charging, maintenance and ancillary services, whose purpose is to accelerate the development of a cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable energy segment.
As a group, we have reviewed the letter to see how we can continue to support the industry. We have picked out some of the particularly interesting points below.
Operating meters in smart mode where possible
The Operational Licence Condition (OLC) obligation requires suppliers to take all reasonable steps to operate smart meters in smart mode. The importance of this is given extensive coverage in the open letter.
There is an expectation that suppliers should have processes and systems to operate smart meters in smart mode. Ofgem state that processes should be in place to rectify any issues with meters that were either not commissioned or have lost communication following an installation. Ofgem is clear that this includes meters that a supplier installs and those they gain when customers churn from another supplier.
“Suppliers should have the right processes in place to correctly identify where they have gained a SMETS2 meter through churn and should be working through any technical difficulties to enable the supplier to operate the meter in smart mode.”
“Where a supplier has not commissioned the meter immediately upon installation, suppliers should have processes in place to ensure that the meter is subsequently connected to the DCC and operated within a timely manner.”
Managed Services – Introducing a new programme that will make working with data easier.
Lowri Beck has developed a service that involves sending a field support operative to a customer’s home to commission the meter where it has stopped communicating.
We can offer this service regardless of whether Lowri Beck is the Meter Operator, allowing suppliers to quickly support their customers without losing focus on their smart meter rollout targets. With suppliers required to meet installation targets, the importance of optimising this is more critical than ever. This service works for both installed and inherited meters. Lowri Beck will work with the supplier to enable them to operate smart meters in smart mode to help suppliers demonstrate how they are meeting the expectations set by Ofgem.
Another way we can support suppliers operating meters in smart mode is to provide meter installation codes for Calvin Capital owned meters that they have inherited but were not commissioned by the installing supplier. This allows suppliers to attempt to commission the meters themselves when on supply.
Keeping firmware up to date
Ofgem also points to the importance of keeping smart meter firmware up to date:
“We would also note the importance of ensuring meters are kept up to date with relevant firmware upgrades. Suppliers should ensure they are aware of any requirements to keep meters complaints and take steps to provide any necessary firmware upgrades are implemented in a timely manner.”
Calvin Capital supports suppliers in this area through our firmware image portal, where multiple manufacturers share firmware images, release notes, and upgrade paths. This service allows suppliers to view and securely download firmware images and release paths from meter manufacturers free of charge. It is a one stop solution that helps you keep meter firmware up to date.
You can find more information on our Managed Services here: Calvin Capital | Managed Services