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Vodafone and DCC partner to upgrade Britain’s smart meter network

This upgrade will enhance the connectivity of millions of homes and small businesses and will help the country move towards its net zero targets, by helping homes cut their energy usage, and allow the grid to make the most of renewable energy generation.

  • Vodafone has signed a services agreement to provide 4G connectivity for Britain’s smart meter network.
  • Data Communications Company (DCC) manages Britain’s national smart meter network, already securely connecting smart meters in more than half of British homes to energy suppliers and operators.
  • This upgrade will enhance the connectivity of millions of homes and small businesses and will help the country move towards its net zero targets, by helping homes cut their energy usage, and allow the grid to make the most of renewable energy generation.
  • Households are a big emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 26% of total emissions in the UK. The smart meter network already reduces emissions by 1 million tonnes a year, the equivalent to planting a forest the size of Coventry every year.

Vodafone has signed a services agreement to provide 4G connectivity for Britain’s smart meter network. The partnership between Vodafone and DCC, the Data Communications Company, is an agreement for up to 15 years to build and operate 4G managed IoT connectivity for Britain’s smart meter network, which already securely connects more than half of homes to energy suppliers and operators and is managed and run by DCC.

The IoT connectivity will use Vodafone’s 4G network. With 4G already reaching more the 99% of the UK population, the ambition of the partnership is for more homes and small businesses to be able to switch to a smart meter. They can then manage their energy usage better and reduce their bills, while playing their part in reducing the country’s overall energy consumption.

According to the Office of National Statistics, households are a big emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 26% of total emissions in the UK. Smart meters are a key tool for helping customers to reduce their overall consumption or move it away from times of peak demand1. The smart meter network today prevents the release of 1 million tonnes of carbon, the equivalent to planting a forest the size of Coventry every year. It would mean the UK needing one less nuclear power reactor in future.

Nick Gliddon, UK Business Director, Vodafone, said: “Today’s announcement underlines our commitment to helping the UK decarbonise. As a global leader in IoT, and with extensive experience in delivering reliable connectivity to the utilities industry in the UK, this agreement leverages the strengths of Vodafone. By helping DCC deliver on its strategy, we’re supporting the development, management, and optimisation of energy assets and so helping the UK work towards its net zero targets.”

Angus Flett, DCC CEO, said: “The smart meter network is a key part of the nation’s journey to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Even though there is still a long life and more capacity in the technology we are using today, we need to continuously look towards how our technology is fit for the future. 4G is a natural next step for our connectivity and is just one of a number of technical improvements the DCC is developing. This partnership with Vodafone is an important part of continuing the DCC’s mission to connect Britain so we can all lead smarter, greener lives.”

Vodafone’s technology will provide a new “Wide Area Network”, a network of information of a large geographic area. This will connect DCC’s servers with its Long-Term Evolution Communication Hubs that are in Britain’s homes, which in turn connect to gas and electricity smart meters. Vodafone will provide the 4G LTE network, with connectivity management delivered by its IoT platform, supported by IT and business consulting services firm CGI who will be responsible for software development.

Mark Aston, Senior Vice President, Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications, CGI said: “CGI is delighted to work with both Vodafone and the DCC to develop the data collection and networks required to optimise the deployment of smart meters across Great Britain. With a sustainable future at the forefront of the global agenda, empowering consumers with accurate information on usage has never been more important.”

Vodafone is working towards net zero for its UK operations by 2027; making its network as energy efficient as possible, and powering it sustainably, plays a key role. It already uses 100% renewable electricity, and a significant proportion of its energy requirement will be generated in the UK by 2025.

CT Bureau

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