Top Smart Meter manufacturers join to develop communication standards for the UK

Source: Elster 

Elster, Landis+Gyr and Secure have reached an agreement to work together to develop common approaches for the development of smart communication standards necessary for the interoperability of equipment for the UK market. 

The solutions will be based on open standards and available specifications for Smart Meter technologies and will help to dramatically accelerate the roll out of gas and electricity Smart Meters in the UK. Under the initiative, energy suppliers will be able to access a range of Smart Meters and in-home displays that comply with the Supplier's Requirements for Smart Metering (SRSM) specifications, can operate on today's low-cost GPRS networks and are upgradeable in the field to accommodate other communication standards as they emerge. 

Recent announcements from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Ofgem have led the companies to believe there is industry-wide benefit in coordinating technology standards to speed the adoption of Smart Meter technologies in the UK. 

The three manufacturers will work to develop and demonstrate a roadmap for interchangeable and interoperable command sets to support smart Home Area Networks (HANs) based on Zigbee's Smart Energy Profile (SEP) and Wide Area Networks (WANs) based on DLMS protocols, ultimately ensuring that any smart product from any of the three can be installed as part of any given household's smart system. The three companies will continue to compete in all other aspects of meter production, including cost of supply, capability, reliability and durability. 

UK consumers will benefit as a result because competition in the supply of meter systems will be accelerated, as one of the fundamental barriers to the development and delivery of meter systems has been significantly reduced. It is anticipated that this will, in turn, help to speed the adoption of Smart Meters and, at the same time, reduce the cost of the UK's roll-out. The consumer benefits of Smart Metering include accurate bills, improved industry processes and the ability to reduce consumption. Smart Meters are an integral component of the Government's Low Carbon Transition plan for 2020. 

The roadmap will comprise a number of complementary steps, the first four milestones being: 

Head end system (HES)
- interchangeability Oct 2010
- Base level SEP interoperability Feb 2011
- Base level DLMS interoperability May 2011
- Prepayment interoperability Sep 2011 

To ensure the approach to openness is maintained, the manufacturers will ensure that the proceedings are conducted in full compliance with competition regulations and any resulting specifications will be made available to industry. 

"Smart Metering in the UK is a huge technical and logistical project. Interim solutions jointly developed by industry leaders can only ease the transition to open standards and enable an earlier adoption of Smart Metering solutions," said Frank Hyldmar of Elster. 

"We are fully supportive of this initiative and believe it will provide the market with workable solutions far more quickly than current processes and provide a bridge to an enduring interoperable market," said Babu Babel of Secure. 

"The UK's model for smart energy is amongst the most advanced in the world. UK consumers will benefit significantly from accelerated adoption of open standards and a collaborative approach to mass roll-out," said John Stretch of Landis+Gyr.

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