Due to cover 28 million homes and small business properties by 2020 or sooner, the initiative is designed to reduce energy costs and lower Great Britain’s carbon-dioxide emissions by 2.6 million tonnes per year when the rollout is complete.
BT is backing long-range radio after spending 18 months analysing the various communications options available to meet the needs of the smart-metering initiative. The company says that, unlike mobile solutions, long-range radio can provide nationwide coverage and dependable reception indoors.
The envisaged solution would create a dedicated network specifically for the smart-metering programme using Arqiva’s radio infrastructure and Detica’s security services. The partners will be supported by Sensus, who would provide their long-range radio technology, Flexnet.
The government will soon publish a prospectus that will provide details about the project and its possible commercial opportunities. The partners will review this document and will then formally launch their proposal in September.
Smart meters will enable commercial and residential customers to monitor the gas and electricity being delivered to their properties. They will also help utility companies to improve the efficiency and control of their networks, as well as provide the ability to offer tailored pricing packages based on customer usage patterns.
As part of the EU’s energy-market liberalisation, 2020 has been set as the deadline for the deployment of smart energy meters across the majority of European homes and small businesses. The collaboration comes as the UK energy regulator, Ofgem, prepares to launch a prospectus outlining its vision for the introduction of smart meters later this month.
Click here for an in-depth look at how technology on trial in the US could point the way for the deployment of smart grids in the UK.