March smart meter installs plummet due to COVID-19

April 24, 2020

Due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, suppliers suspended the smart meter installation programme in order to ensure the safety of homeowners, tenants and field engineers. Subsequently, data shows that 168,000 smart meter installations took place in GB in March 2020, a decrease of 27.5 percent compared to the previous month.

This figure also represents a decrease of 17.2 percent compared to March 2019. Last month’s installs represents the lowest number of monthly installs in years.

In terms of regional distribution, the regions which usually see the highest number of monthly installs remained in the top spots, such as East England with 22,000 smart meter installs, Southern England with just under 19,000 and the East Midlands with 17,500.

East England remains the region with the most cumulative installations at 1.54mn, followed by 1.366mn in the East Midlands and Southern England with 1.25mn.

UK map of smart meter installs per region

The daily effects of COVID-19

Daily meter install data from Q1 this year shows a typical pattern of weekday peaks and weekend troughs until late March when social distancing measures were introduced in the UK. Thereafter a downward trend temporarily occurred before all non-essential installations ceased through industry agreement.

Currently, smart meters are only being installed in emergencies, for example to restore supply or rectify a fault, according to Current News.

In Q3 last year, BEIS announced the smart meter rollout deadline would be pushed back to 2024, and Ofgem has indicated it will review its planned works for 2020.

These insights were provided by ElectraLink’s Data Transfer Service Operations Team. For any questions on the information or data sources, please contact our helpdesk at helpdesk@electralink.co.uk or call 020 7432 3012 for any questions about our energy market data services.
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The analysis is based on the D0150 data flows transmitted across our network and we believe capture the vast majority of smart meter installations.

The users of the DTS have given ElectraLink permission to intercept and analyse this, and other data flows, subject to certain conditions.

Our analysis defines smart meters as those models with the capability to handle time of use tariffs and which can be remotely updated.

For installations after September 2013, we count all meters flagged as SMETS1, SMETS2 or non-SMETS. For installations before the industry standard designation was agreed, the allocation is based on the make and model of meter.

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