Blog / Getting smart, safely: Our commitment to customers

Getting smart, safely: Our commitment to customers

12th June 2020

This year has presented challenges for everyone. One area particularly affected has been the smart meter rollout. Most suppliers paused smart installations as the UK went into lockdown, causing installation rates to drop by around 95%.

Safety is everyone’s priority at the moment. That’s why we’re working closely with our partners to ensure our customers and our partners feel safe.

The UK’s smart metering programme is important, but safety - particularly now - is paramount. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK’s lockdown, we put our smart meter programme on pause. Now we’re beginning to navigate out of lockdown and back to a semblance of normality, we’re starting to get back to business.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be getting in touch with eligible customers to arrange smart meter installation appointments. As part of our commitment to ensuring safe working conditions, we’re sharing the key measures we’ve put in place.

You can see our full full risk assessment document here.

The pandemic has been an overwhelming challenge, but the climate crisis is still a real threat that we need to band together to tackle; a recent Ipsos MORI poll found that two-thirds of Britons believe that the climate crisis is as important as COVID-19 over the long-term. That’s why it’s important that Britain stays on the path to getting smarter.

Why do we need a smart grid?

The smart grid - the UK’s intelligent, connected electricity infrastructure - will underpin our transition to a zero-carbon, lower-cost energy future.

It will do this by helping the system operator, National Grid, to balance the network more easily. This will in turn support the integration of more intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. It will also help suppliers incentivise consumers to use energy when it’s cheaper or more plentiful.

Smart meters are a foundational technology on the journey to the smart grid. Currently, the UK has an outdated network, which is expensive to maintain and adds to customers’ bills.

How a smart grid would have supported the country during lockdown

The smart grid would have been incredibly useful throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, too. The UK’s lockdown saw non-essential businesses shuttered, and a dramatic shift to homeworking. This led to a radically altered energy consumption pattern, with average weekday demand down by around 13%.

This, combined with unusually high energy generation from renewable sources, created balancing issues for the National Grid, estimated to cost around £500m.

A smarter energy infrastructure could have helped to mitigate some of these costs, particularly for businesses who were unable to supply meter readings and whose energy use may have been overestimated. Customers with smart meters were less likely to be affected by this - demonstrating why smart meters are important for all businesses.

Find out more about the smart grid.

Trialling the best technology with our customers

As well as planning how we continue smart meter installation appointments safely, we’ve been busy behind-the-scenes finding new and innovative ways to get smart.

As part of our on-going commitment to help businesses on their sustainability journey, our parent company Drax has announced a partnership with EDMI, the DCC and Utiligroup to trial polyphase meters.

This will allow us to install smart meters at large business premises with more than one electricity meter., giving our high-volume energy customers greater control over their energy use and helping them continue their journey to a zero-carbon future.

Stay smart, on the move

Smart meters also give you more flexible ways of keeping an eye on your energy costs. Smartphone apps, for example, are one benefit, and allow customers to see exact consumption data, and the cost of that energy in pounds and pence (though some apps exclude non-energy costs, so the price shown may be indicative rather than exact).

This means that business owners will know exactly what they’re spending, be able to spot any consumption anomalies and have complete visibility of their energy usage - no matter where you are.

The smart energy revolution is important to us - we’re passionate about helping businesses understand their energy use. But we’re committed to keeping our customers, and our partners, safe.

If you’re a customer and you’d like to book a safe smart meter appointment, get in touch today.

Get a safe smart meter appointment

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