SmartReach, a collaboration of Arqiva, BT, BAE Systems Detica and Sensus for smart metering communications in the UK, has announced a trial involving up to 1,000 smart electricity meters with ScottishPower and Siemens in the Ipswich area.
The SmartReach consortium is in the running for the contract to provide the communications solution for the Data Communications Company (DCC), which is at the heart of the UK’s Smart Metering Implementation Programme. What makes SmartReach different is that it uses a long-range radio communications network for communicating with domestic electricity meters. A long-range radio solution promises to be simpler and cheaper, so more likely to hit the Government’s 2019 deadline for the deployment of smart energy meters to all homes and small companies. It’s a technology already widely deployed in the US.
For the 18-month Ipswich trial, SmartReach is using Arqiva’s existing tower infrastructure and Sensus’ FlexNet smart metering communications solution. Siemens – which already provides a managed metering service for ScottishPower – will coordinate, plan and manage the installation as well as providing data to ScottishPower on the speed and success of installation and the on-going performance for meter reads.
SmartReach is up against some stiff opposition for the DCC contract. The last I heard was that Airwave, Balfour Beatty, Cable & Wireless, O2 and Vodafone were all still in the running. Detailed bids are due in soon and the contracts will be awarded next spring. No doubt the SmartReach consortium is hoping that the Ipswich trial will add to their case.