8/18/2010 11:36:00 AM
Operators need long-term solution for smart metering, says analyst
A recent consultation paper published by Ofgem and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) contains a ‘codified rejection’ of the use of cellular networks for smart meter data transfer, Ovum principal analyst Stuart Ravens claims.
The smart metering programme, which will see 27 million homes and SMEs fitted with smart meters by 2020, is seen as a new, lucrative revenue stream by network operators, with most already involved in smart meter trials with energy providers.
Ravens points to a line in the document, which states: ‘Latencies of seconds would preclude the use of some …solutions; the ability to “broadcast” or simultaneously make contact with a number of meters within a defined time period may also preclude some solutions.’
Ravens said: ‘Due to the potential for cellular network capacity constraints and problems with broadcasting to multiple endpoints, Ovum believes that Ofgem has sounded the death knell for cellular’s long-term viability as a smart metering communications protocol, should advanced smart grid applications be introduced.’
Ravens believes the operators’ current involvement in smart metering will be phased out as the mandatory programme kicks in in 2012. He said: ‘It is likely that Ofgem will allow for these meters to run out their expected lifespan, until technical obsolescence, functional upgrades or household specific requirements force an upgrade.’
An Ofgem spokesman said: ‘Ofgem and DECC are going out for an open consultation and in no way are we seeking to close potential communications channels at this stage.’