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How to act SMART

Aug 09, 2018

Written By

Chris Broadhurst

Director of Business Development

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With smart metering and the DCC getting ever closer on the horizon, this week we take a look at the challenges and opportunities presented by SMART, and why getting your house in order is critical to the successful adoption of the scheme.

For the uninitiated, the smart rollout aims to have around 53 million smart meters fitted in more than 30 million premises (households and businesses) across Wales, Scotland and England by 2020. The programme is already underway, and represents the biggest national infrastructure project in several decades. Given its scale, it’s no surprise that there have been delays, but overall the project is looking to complete largely on time.

The DCC is an integral piece of the smart meter puzzle, and in essence is the company responsible for managing the communications between market participants and energy consumers. There are several moving parts to the scheme, so to illustrate how these all hang together, see below a simple diagram provided by the DCC.

Smart DCC Integration in the home

For suppliers, the smart meter roll out presents two key challenges;

  1. Integration with the DCC
  2. A complex new data source

From an integration point of view, every supplier will need to decide how they integrate and communicate with the DCC. This ultimately boils down to two options – either invest in an in-house solution, or work with a service partner who’ll supply and manage the DCC adaptors for you. Both options involve a cost, but attempting the work in-house is arguably the more costly, either up front in R&D investment, or in the long term if the solution fails.

When it comes to data, however, there’s a much wider consideration that suppliers will need to take into account. With smart metering and the DCC will come another completely new data set, and from a metering point of view it will be at a much more granular level than residential suppliers are typically used to. Given the addition of a new data source, and the step change in granularity, all suppliers will need to consider how their existing systems are equipped to cope.

For suppliers whose systems (think Billing, CRM, Finance) are separate, there’ll need to be a consideration as to how all these systems are affected by the addition of the new data, and equally how each system will integrate with the data itself. No mean feat given the complexity built into each of these systems.

But, there is an alternative.

At ENSEK, our integrated solution is ideally placed to handle the smart meter rollout, and the new data that comes with it. Designed from the ground up to work from a single unified data source, the touchpoints with the industry are streamlined into our powerful market messaging software, IMI, from which all our other core systems run. This makes the receipt and processing of the DCC’s data straightforward, and simply another data source for our market messaging system to hook into.

Aside from the integrated benefits, one of the fundamental capabilities of the ENSEK system is its ability to calculate HH charges for NHH meters. This means that our system is already used to dealing with the increased volumes of data associated with HH granularity, and has done so with big 6 portfolios for several years.

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