Baroness Verma, minister for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), has said that the UK’s smart meter rollout is now firmly in the implementation phase and has also tried to allay data privacy concerns.
DECC wants 30 million residents and small business to have a smart meter before the end of 2020 and has recently awarded frameworks to a number of companies, including Capita and Arqiva, to support the rollout.
It also recently published the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice, which requires that companies give consumers the information they need to understand how to use their meter and ensure that they understand how it can help them use energy more efficiently.
Giving a speech at an Intellect lunch this week, Baroness Verma said: “Privacy, security, and data access are high in the minds of some domestic and small business users, and it was crucial that we took steps to protect the privacy of individuals and made sure that they have control over the data recorded by their smart meter.
“Consumers will have a choice over who has access to their smart meter data, except where the data is needed to fulfil regulated duties.”
Suppliers will be required to explain to smart meter users which data is being used and for what purposes, whilst network operators will only be allowed access to half-hourly data for regulated purposes provided that they aggregate the data so that individuals cannot be identified from it.
DECC expects that the rollout itself will bring a number of economic benefits to the UK, citing over 1,000 jobs being created by the companies involved.
It also said that up to 7,000 meter installers may be hired over the rollout period, whilst providing the communications infrastructure for smart metering is also expected to provide new jobs.
“Now we are firmly moving into the implementation phase - a crucial stage in the delivery of the smart metering programme,” said Baroness Verma.
“The implementation phase will see responsibility for delivery lie with many parties, including many different industry partners who will be vital in ensuring we are ready to start mass roll out in autumn 2015.”
She added: “The programme is progressing forward at a good pace. In working closely together, government, industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders have ensured that we are able to deliver an ambitious programme that will realise huge benefits to consumers, and also ensure future platforms for smarter services.”