2014 is set to be an interesting year for the energy industry. Why?…because that is the yeat that Smart Metering begins to roll out to all households and businesses in the UK. You will experience the change as both a business and domestic consumer.
Not so fast. The introduction of Smart Metering is percieved by some as the start of reduced bills thanks to more real time data and the ability to understand your usage on a daily basis. Well, sorry to disappoint but the emphasis will still be on the business or household to use the live data to monitor and assess where bills can be reduced by switching off, conserving and limiting energy use. Switch off that light, wear a little more clothing in the office so the heat can be turned down a notch and ensure that PC monitors are energy saving with PC’s that are easily turned off.
Smart meters are due for domestic roll-out by 2018 and 2020 for commercial. The basic premise is that energy isn’t going to get any cheaper in the near future and consumers; domestic and commercial are going to have to manage their energy consumption – why? Because we’re digging the hard stuff [oil, gas and coal] out of the ground and the alternatives are either hugely more expensive or dangerous [e.g. Fukushima]. To enable this to happen successfully requires that the consumer is engaged in the process with the result being that they will be able to see how much, when and at what cost energy is consumed.
With 2011 proving to be a particularly turbulent year for worldwide energy prices, heads are now turning to what to expect in 2012.
With civil unrest in the Middle East unlikely to ease, mixed with increased export capabilities, wholesale prices are expected to fluctuate heavily. European leaders look likely to impose an oil embargo on Iran, with Tehran warning of rising tensions and likely retaliation.
Woah! Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted! As tempting as it is to continue with the theme, we’d better cut to the chase!
Smart Meters are arriving as we speak. The DECC (Dept. of Energy & Climate Change) talk in terms of: 160,000 05‐08 profile electricity meters and 40,000 large gas meters (732 MWhs). These are all supposed to be replaced by 2014 and guess what, DECC and OFGEM are still discussing with energy suppliers the type and capability of the meters to be used, it’s that ‘VHS vs. BETAMAX’ debate all over again.
Worse still some suppliers (and we’re including the ‘big six’ in this) have seen this as some sort of opportunity to tie businesses into long‐term metering contracts, making it difficult to change suppliers come supply contract renewal time, and making spurious claims about ‘interoperability with other suppliers’ meters’.
Lets be clear there may be some technical issues, however, commercial restrictions are certainly not acceptable, and these views we believe are endorsed by the DECC. To make matters worse, there are instances of energy suppliers ringing business customers and telling them they must have a new smart meter by next April…it’s simply not true.
Our advice right now is ‘Hold Your Horses!’ be very careful about any Smart Meter arrangements, get Torse to check things out first…