Data for Good, Smart Meter Data Access

Smart meter data is at the heart of the energy system transition. It is critical to achieving our Net Zero target and fundamental to alleviating cost pressures for end consumers.

With over 28 million smart meters now installed, the system operated by the Data Communications Company (DCC) is already generating over 1.5 billion data transactions every month. This unique data set is being generated by more than half of all the households in Great Britain. That’s over 16 million connected homes.

The data flows are enabling cost savings and carbon reduction through more accurate billing and better awareness of energy use. Combined, this constitutes over 1,000,000 tonnes of carbon savings per year. But this is just starting to scratch the surface of what is possible. Greater transparency of, and accelerated access to, smart meter data can promote energy efficiency, effectively target those in need, empower consumers, and support new solutions for the energy transition.

Building on the work of the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce and DCC’s preceding Data for Good vision, this paper seeks to move the dial from discussion to further action, introducing proposals to the industry that can be implemented to maximise the public interest benefit of smart meter data.

It explores the full array of benefits that can be unlocked through enhanced data access and sets out the considerations that need to be addressed if the true potential is to be realised, including the imperative to ensure and enhance consumer trust.

We are seeing more and more examples of how data access can lead to innovation and public interest benefit – through greater savings and tailored support for consumers, better planning and efficiencies across the energy system and new opportunities in health, social care and other adjacent markets.

The proposals below aim to ensure that the public good benefits of smart meter data can be realised more effectively in the short, medium, and long term.

Key Recommendations

  1. Unlock smart meter system data to support fuel poor households: Following a successful trial of the uZero project, support is required from Ofgem, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (the Department) and industry to unlock system data for this vital public interest purpose.
    Timescale: Achieving this outcome by winter this year (2023/24) is imperative.
  2. Maximise access to smart meter data through existing mechanisms: Improvements are needed to the current data access regime so that organisations can onboard easier and undertake early-stage trialling and testing of new data-driven propositions prior to full integration with the smart metering system. Timescale: To be developed through SEC Modifications over the next 12 to 18 months.
  3. Establish a data institution for smart meter data: A dedicated entity should be set up to oversee the governance of, access to and use of smart meter data for public good. This will help to resolve the complex interaction between smart meter regulations and data legislation obligations. Timescale: Two to three years (parallel to the Department’s Smart Energy Data Repository2 (SEDR) Programme).
  4. Maximise data access while minimising risk: It is essential to deploy new privacy-enhancing technologies for smart meter data to enable the broadest public interest use cases with the lowest possible risk. Timescale: In alignment with development of a data institution.

Read the Main Report

Data for Good: Smart Meter Data Access

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