Insights / New smart meters giving more control

New smart meter to give Drax's customers more control of their power

17th June 2020

We’re trialling polyphase SMETS 2 smart meters, aimed at giving our larger customers better control of their power use, and making them more sustainable. The trial is the first of its kind to develop technology that will pave the way for more sophisticated smart metering solutions.

We are working with the Data Communications Company (DCC), smart meter manufacturer EDMI and software company Utiligroup, on a ground-breaking polyphase SMETS 2 smart meter. This meter will give large organisations greater control of their electricity use.

The technology needed to install the newest smart meters in more complex settings, such as schools or large commercial premises, hasn’t been available up to now. This means that some of the largest power users haven’t benefitted from the smartest technologies.

Polyphase SMETS2 smart meters will allow larger organisations to track their electricity usage. And they use the same software as the millions of single-phase smart meters installed in homes and small organisations across the UK.

The new technology means we can offer large business and non-commercial customers access to smart metering technology. And this will give them greater control over their electricity use with the potential to operate more sustainably.

Paul Sheffield, Managing Director of Drax Customers Business, said, “We’re confident that this new smart meter technology is going to be a game changer for thousands of our larger customers. This technology will enable them to enjoy greater flexibility and control over their electricity use, making them more sustainable, which will be good for both the environment and their bottom line.”

We will field test the meters with selected customers, such as utilities and large NHS Trusts, in the autumn.

Drax, the DCC and EDMI have continued the work, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with all partners working remotely to develop and test the technology.

The project includes a new polyphase smart meter testing lab, where we’re developing the new technology. It’s within the DCC’s Manchester facility, which is the operational headquarters of Britain’s smart meter network. The facility can test 2,400 smart meters simultaneously and has a technical operation centre that monitors the installation and operation of every smart meter in the country.

The new smart meters will operate securely on the network, using a specialist software platform from Utiligroup, a key technology-services partner of Drax.

Dan Lambert, Chief Operating Officer for the DCC, said, “The DCC’s network is the digital backbone of the energy industry, and our customers like Drax are constantly working to help us extend its reach to more homes and organisations. Polyphase smart meters will make it available to even more organisations, from farms to tech start-ups. It’s been impressive how well the whole sector has collaborated throughout lockdown on this complex work. With our customers, we’re making Britain more connected so we can all lead smarter, greener lives.”

Alan Masterman, Managing Director of smart meter manufacturer EDMI Europe Limited, said, “We are incredibly proud of the work this partnership is achieving. Smart meters are the foundation of the energy revolution and are therefore an essential component for large organisations that have previously not had access to smart technology. At EDMI we are committed to the development of products that best meet market demands, for our customers. The close working of both Drax and the DCC has resulted in the development and creation of a meter that supports the continued expansion of the smart meter programme.”