8/18/2010 11:39:00 AM
Networks set for £7bn smart meter rollout
Operators are lying in wait after it emerged that the delivery of the £7bn smart meter programme is to be ramped up under Coalition Government plans.
Network operators are expected to play a key role in the smart meter programme. Some operators, such as Vodafone – which has joined forces with British Gas to deliver its smart meter programme – are tipped to bid for the contract as members of a smart meter consortia.
The start date for the mandatory programme, which aims to install gas and electricity smart meters in 27 million UK homes by 2020, has been brought forward by one year to July 2012.
The new timetable was outlined in a Government consultation document published last week.
The document also set out plans to tender a major contract to run the Data Communications Company (DCC), which will play a central role as a national communications network managing data received from the meters and distributing it to suppliers.
Vodafone welcomed the publication of the prospectus but declined to discuss its strategy in detail.
O2 indicated a wider interest in the programme this week. Geoff Sarney, O2’s smart meter chief, said: ‘At O2 we believe that the challenge is not just to deliver a smart meter that can provide energy readings remotely but to create a service that delivers an end-to-end solution, which satisfies Government, utilities and consumers, in addition to providing future revenue streams.’
Everything Everywhere also signalled broader ambitions. A spokeswoman told Mobile: ‘We have smart metering expertise across the business, from R&D through to design and delivery of core smart metering services. A huge amount of development work has been undertaken to ensure we have the best solutions, backed by the largest network to meet and exceed the demands of the Prospectus.’
Priory Consulting MD Eddie Murphy said: ‘With 27 million homes in the programme that’s an awful lot of SIM cards – all the operators will be wanting a share of this programme.’
Responses to the consultation document are due on 28 September.