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m.logistics Magazine | Mar/April 2009 | Smart meters could mean upheaval in the field service market

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Smart meters could mean upheaval in the field service market

So-called 'smart meters' for monitoring gas and electricity use and billing for it finally look like becoming a reality in the UK – though even under the Government's newly published plans, the conversion programme may not be completed until 2020.

The Government has launched a consultation process on the scheme, inviting feedback from interested parties on the kind of equipment and systems that should be adopted. At some point after the close of this process on 3 August, energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband aims to publish more detailed plans for the programme.

The change will have major implications for the field service end of the nation's meter-reading infrastructure. In the long term, it will spell the end of the task of visiting meters to take readings on site – and consequently the end of the need for the handheld terminals and other hardware and software that goes with this.

However, for some years the change could mean a bonanza for companies supplying and installing the new equipment, more than easing the pain of the transition.


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According to Government estimates, around 26 million electricity meters and 22 million gas meters will need to be installed, and the cost will be around £7 billion.

Equipment and systems capable of meeting the new requirements already exist. Recently two suppliers, Norwegian company Powel, a smart meter specialist, and UK-based Cordys, a business process specialist, set up an integrated all-in-one solution for meter management, measurement, workflow and reporting for smart meters.

And one UK power supplier, First Utility, has already installed smart meters in the homes of its 10,000 customers.

 

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