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British Gas heralds new era of smart meters with country’s first SMETS2 pilot

British Gas has partnered with Landis+Gyr to install the very first SMETS2-certified smart meter, heralding a new era for smart, domestic energy.

The meter, installed in August in a house in Surbiton, is the first in an opening tranche of pilot installations before a wider roll-out next year.

Energy technology firm Landis+Gyr said the meter was the first to be certified at Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications 2 (SMETS2) standard, boasting more advanced capabilities than the currently available SMETS1 meters.

Most notably the SMETS2 meters facilitate domestic renewables in what could prove a boon for greater adoption of peer-to-peer energy trading. The nascent technology has been trialled within Ofgem’s regulatory sandbox and is widely expected to play a crucial role in a decentralised market.

SMETS2 meters also boast greater data security measures and broader interoperability, allowing customers to switch energy supplier without the need for wholesale changes to their smart meter. Earlier this year MPs sought clarity from government after a number of consumers raised concerns that their ability to switch supplier was being prohibited by the previous installation of a SMETS1 meter.

Landis+Gyr, which has developed the SMETS2 meter from its UK-based R&D centre, said the new meters would “form the cornerstone” of a more flexible, reliable and efficient energy infrastructure.

“We are delighted to announce this important industry ‘first’ and to be able to bring this leading-edge technology to UK homes and businesses. We are very proud to have supported UK plc by carrying out all of the R&D for this landmark technology here in the UK,” Stephen Cunningham, senior vice president EMEA at Landis+Gyr, said.

While British Gas is the first major utility to adopt Landis+Gyr’s meters, others are expected to follow suit and the company expects to deliver more than 20 million smart gas and electricity meters for the UK market.

Earlier this week the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a consultation on plans to relax its deadline for suppliers to switch to SMETS2 meters, aiming to prevent any further delays or hiccups from impacting on the wider roll-out programme.

However there remains some concern from within the industry that customers are not being fully briefed on how to both operate and benefit from a smart meter in comparison to traditional metering and display equipment. Yesterday Labour MP Caroline Flint warned that the roll-out could become a universal credit-esque failure.

Catherine O’Kelly, industry development director at British Gas, said the supplier was proud to achieve the industry first.

“It’s a really important milestone for our programme, coming hot on the heels of our four millionth smart meter installation a few months ago,” she added.