Thursday, 18 December 2008

Smart Metering in the UK

Smart metering has been seen for some time as one of the biggest Green IT opportunities in the UK and I can think of at least three companies I've spoken to who think they are the ideal IT supplier and have been jokeying for position as the market maker for some time. Well it looks like we are going to find out who the winners and losers are going to be quite soon as the UK is apparently about to put the contract out to tender.

According to The Sunday Times last weekend, Vodafone, O2, BT, Logica, Accenture, IBM and Capgemini are already trying to establish consortia for bidding for the contracts (and I would expect to see Siemens and Fujitsu Services in there somewhere, among others). It's a huge task, with around 46 million meters in 26 million homes, but it will allow energy users to monitor consumption, which invariably leads to lower use, encourage micro-generation of energy and also bring other customer services benefits.

Apparently there is already broad agreement between government and industry about how meters will be rolled out (starting in 2010) and the data managed. Overall contracts will be worth about £7bn.

The downside is that these sorts of contracts have invariably gone wrong, with the NPfIT (the NHS modernisation programme) a recent and prime example. Arguably this is a lot different, with relatively few energy suppliers (rather than thousands of autonomous health providers) and more basic technology, but the opportunities to get it wrong are still legion. Fingers crossed.

© The Green IT Review

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