Proposals to give micro, small and medium sized businesses and other non-domestic energy consumers access to all the benefits of smart meters have been published by the Dept for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

As an integral part of the policy, most non-domestic energy suppliers will be required to become users by 31 August 2018 of the smart metering communications infrastructure currently provided only by Data Connection Company (DCC). This will involve enrolling SMETS2 (‘smart metering equipment technical specifications: second version’) meters with DCC.

DCC infrastructure allows energy suppliers, network operators and other authorised users to communicate with smart meters and enables consumers to manage their energy usage with near to real-time information of their energy consumption.

While non-domestic suppliers can currently opt-out of DCC infrastructure, a previous consultation failed to uncover evidence to suggest that the market will operate effectively if the opt-out is left in place.

In ‘Non-domestic smart metering: policy proposals and draft legal text’, DBEIS is therefore also seeking views on the draft legal text that will remove the opt-out and help ensure micro, small and medium businesses can access fully interoperable smart meters within the DCC infrastructure.

A minority of large, multi-site energy consumers are also affected by the non-domestic roll-out and the proposals cover two areas relevant to them.

  • 1) Amending supply licence conditions to allow suppliers to give such consumers an explicit choice between advanced meters and SMETS2 meters. A key issue is how to define large energy consumers in a way that ensures smaller businesses are not captured.
  • 2) Exempting some non-domestic only suppliers that supply predominantly large business consumers from the requirement to become DCC users as they supply only a limited number of non-domestic premises covered by the smart metering mandate. Such suppliers would remain exempt until they acquired/installed a SMETS2 meter, when they would have to become DCC users.