Over a decade into the smart meter rollout, there are now more energy smart meters active in Great Britain than traditional (aka dumb) meters, according to the latest Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) report.

Progress has been slow with the rollout due to lingering impacts of the pandemic, and industry parties including ElectraLink are coming forward to suggest new, collaborative approaches to speed up installations before the 2025 deadline and make better use of the data the rollout has provided so far.

ElectraLink is on a mission to build an open, flexible and low-carbon energy market through data-driven intelligence and reliable infrastructure. We’ve been doing this with consumption and meter data for years with API solutions that now boast many happy customer organisations. Now, we have launched GoSmart to boost access to the valuable data that smart meters are collecting for both the individual consumer and industry use.

A virtual toolbox of data

When the Smart Metering Implementation Plan was devised to guide the rollout, it was assumed that energy suppliers would be the main industry party that would need to access and use data from smart meters. Understandably, it was not anticipated over a decade ago that other market participants would need access to the data under the guardianship of the Data Communications Company (DCC).

Since the smart metering programme started in 2012, new energy market entrants and innovative ideas from established players have driven a need to access smart meter data outside of the anticipated supplier-customer relationship. The DCC confirms that usage of its platform has far outstripped expectations due to a growing group of innovators needing smart meter data for intelligent solutions. This includes innovators in sectors such as banking, real estate, tech, and energy efficiency.

However, despite the impressive set of new use cases, the data smart meters provide hasn’t yet been used to its full potential.

Obstacles for data access

The majority of user licenses which market participants are permitted to access DCC data through are based on energy market roles, such as transporter, supplier or distributor. However, the greatest growth demand for the DCC’s services is focused on the ‘Other User’ type. This user type gives any business access to the nation’s smart meter data as long as the business can meet strict requirements.

For good reasons (including security, stability and cost control), smart metering infrastructure and regulations in GB are tightly maintained. This means that direct access to DCC-held smart meter data is a lengthy process with huge investment demands.

Unfortunately, these controls now actively constrain new, innovative solutions to some of the challenges consumers and businesses face in 2023. The onboarding and development timeline to be able to compliantly build around the DCC’s infrastructure can take up to a year for many organisations, leaving some simply unable to find the resources to succeed along such a journey.

Unlocking access to DCC data

GB’s smart meter programme has demanded much time, effort, coordination and investment so far, and we need to take advantage of the data now available. Access to this data is the first step to unlocking its full potential.

Part of our mission to build a low-carbon energy market through data is to enable many parties to access smart meter data with consent and legal compliance as top priority. To this end, we launched GoSmart – a smart meter data solution that integrates with the DCC and includes a consent management framework to ensure constant legal compliance.

There’s loads more to say

There are so many benefits to incorporating smart meter data into digital systems. I covered some of these benefits recently in ElectraLink’s virtual workshop series in my live webinar, Growing Opportunities with Smart SMEs. Watch the webinar on-demand if you’d like to know more about smart meter data in the evolving GB energy market and how GoSmart will support your business.

Please also feel free to contact ElectraLink at [email protected] to find out more about GoSmart.

Words by Kate Frazer, New Product Development Manager