Insights / Getting smart: Our customer commitment

Getting smart, safely: Our commitment to customers

15th June 2020

Since the UK lockdowns started in spring 2020, there have been challenges for individuals and organisations everywhere. For the energy industry, the smart meter rollout was particularly affected as most suppliers – including us – paused smart metering work. Installation rates dropped by around 95%.

Quite rightly, safety remains our priority. That’s why we’re working closely with our partners to make sure they, and all our customers, are protected. And now we’re beginning to get back to some normality, we’re starting to get back to business too.

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

  • Maintain social distancing
  • Use sanitising wipes thoroughly on all tools and equipment, both before and after any work
  • • Securely dispose of any waste generated on site

The pandemic’s been an overwhelming challenge. And the climate crisis remains a real threat and something we need to tackle together. 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 Britain needs to stay on the path to getting smarter.

Why do we need a smart grid?

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

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

Smart meters are a crucial part of the journey to the smart grid. Currently, the UK has an outdated network that’s expensive to maintain and adds to customers’ bills.


How would a smart grid have supported the country during lockdown?

The smart grid would’ve been incredibly useful through the pandemic, given the radically altered energy consumption that Covid-19 caused. The closing of premises and shift to home working led to a drop in average weekday demand of around 13%.

This, combined with unusually high electricity generation from renewable sources, created balancing issues for the National Grid costing around £500m.

A smarter energy infrastructure could have helped to mitigate some of these costs. Particularly for organisations that couldn’t supply meter readings and whose energy use may have been overestimated. Customers with smart meters were less likely to be affected by this, showing why smart meters are important for all organisations.

Trialling the best technology with our customers

As well as planning how we continue smart meter installation appointments safely, we’ve been busy finding new ways to get smart.

As part of our on-going commitment to help organisations on their sustainability journey, Drax is in partnership with EDMI, the DCC and Utiligroup to trial polyphase meters.

This allows us to install smart meters at large premises with more than one electricity meter. For our high-volume energy customers, this means greater control over their usage and another step towards a zero carbon future.

Stay smart, on the move

Soon, we’ll be making an app available to existing Drax customers with SMETS2 smart meters. The app will let customers see exactly how much energy they’ve used, as well as the price for that energy. (The price may be indicative rather than exact, because the app excludes some of the Third Party Costs that appear on your energy bill.)

The app works on all Android and Apple devices for qualifying Drax customers, who can review their data across different time periods straight from their phone. They’ll know exactly what they’re using, and be able to spot any anomalies too.

The smart energy revolution’s important to us, and we want to help organisations understand their energy use. But we’re equally 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.

Register today