Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Smart Metering
In this article, we cover everything there is to know about smart metering and the benefits/duties that come with becoming a Dual Fuel Smart Metering Engineer.
First Things First! What are Smart Meters?
Smart meters provide both accurate and regular updates on how much electricity and gas is being used by a household. This information is passed over a wireless network providing direct information to energy suppliers, ensuring bills are accurate and customers are only charged for what they actually use.
Smart meters have enabled households to become more aware of their energy consumption, with in-home displays (IHD) and energy apps providing daily bill estimates. This has enabled customers to take control of their energy usage and even save money. Traditional electrical and gas meters only measured total consumption and provided no information about when the energy was used. For this reason, the government mandated in 2011 that every UK household should ideally have a new smart meter installed.
About the Smart Meter Roll Out
The government have set a target to upgrade all meters to smart meters by the end of 2025. This requires around 21,000 smart meters to be installed every day to keep up with demand. As of the end of 2021, only 50% of all homes across England, Scotland and Wales have an updated smart meter installed, meaning there is still a lot of work to be done if the 2025 target is to be reached.
There also remains a caveat, in that homeowners can still refuse a smart meter even if they’re offered the chance to upgrade by an energy company. For this reason, part of the roll out is not just about installation, but also about educating the general public about how they are used to save households money.
Who is Responsible for the Smart Metering Roll Out?
Much of the responsibility has fallen on the energy companies themselves to put in place plans to install smart meters. For this reason, many energy suppliers continue to train up Smart Metering Engineers to install, maintain, and repair smart meter units.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also plays a critical role in setting the rules and regulations around smart metering and ensuring that demand for smart meter installation is being met.
What is the UK Government Policy on Smart Metering?
The UK government through the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has put in place a Code of Practice Policy for smart meter installations to protect customers.
These policies state that:
- Businesses provide energy efficiency advice, tailored to the customer’s circumstances, and an IHD is offered to households as part of the installation
- The consumer is offered a demonstration of the newly installed smart metering system, alongside relevant information for prepayment and safety for vulnerable consumers, in a clear and accurate manner.
- Clear permission needs to be given in advance of the visit for installers to be able to talk to consumers about their energy suppliers’ additional products/services.
Smart meters themselves must also meet strict regulatory standards. Manufacturers must ensure that any product placed on the market is safe for consumer use. Installers should also identify pre-existing safety issues unrelated to smart metering and address these issues to the energy networks or consumers.
Energy suppliers and installers are also subject to a strict data access framework for smart meters according to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data protection regulations. This means installers cannot share any personal or usage data about consumers, unless they have given explicit permission to do so. The national smart metering network is separate from the internet and uses a secure system. This ensures only authorised parties (such as energy suppliers and network companies) can access the data stored there.
How do I become a Smart Metering Engineer?
Smart Metering Apprenticeships have continued to be a popular entry route for those looking to join the Gas and Electrical industry. The attractive benefit packages that many energy companies provide offer increased incentive for those who have considered undertaking an apprenticeship before.
Many energy companies run what is called Level 2 Dual Fuel Smart Metering Apprenticeship. The apprenticeship itself is geared towards those who have little to no experience within the Gas and Power industry and turns them into full qualified Smart Metering Engineers in the space of 13 months.
Universal Skills work closely with such companies to help train up candidates in smart metering ensuring they can remove old-style meters and replace them with smart meters, as well as be able to use computerised fault-finding equipment and carry out testing and repair work on units.
How much does a Smart Metering Engineer earn?
The UK average salary for a fully qualified Smart Metering Engineer is between £28,000 - £36,000 per year, not including bonuses and overtime.
Earnings typically vary from company to company and individuals will tend to earn less during their apprenticeship. £14,000 - £18,000 across the first 19 weeks of their apprenticeship and then £22,000 - £26,000 from 19 weeks until completion.
Find out more about smart metering apprentices through the below link: https://universalskillsgroup.co.uk/pages/apprenticeships