UK Smart Meter Adoption Expected To Grow 15 Times By 2015


UK and Germany currently lagging behind in European smart meter penetration according to IMS Research for Sentec

Approximately 65 percent of UK homes will be fitted with smart meters by 2015 according to research conducted by IMS Research and commissioned by Cambridge-based supplier Sentec.

In 2011 the percentage of British homes with meters installed was only 4.23 per cent, extremely low compared to Italy where the penetration rate was 94 per cent last year. In Nordic countries, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland, the rate was a healthy 70 per cent.

If anyone needs reminding of the benefits of smart meters, it is hoped that they will allow a reduction in energy demand by enabling people to turn off unused equipment, and matching generation to demand. South Korea has announced that a smart meter roll-out will allow it to cancel a plan for nuclear power.

Slow-to-start Europe

In some European countries, the roll out of smart meters has been slow, though this may be due to a lack of investment or initiative. Sentec points out that Italy’s Enel invested $3 billion in smart meter technology by 2006, while in Sweden a “first policy of regulation-driven rollouts” drove adoption.

IMS Research predicts that over the next three years France, Spain and Portugal can expect to see a surge in smart meter deployment (roughly 10 times growth in all three), though Sentec has some concerns about whether the UK can achieve its forecasted rate.

“The deregulated structure of UK market is uniquely challenging for rapid and co-ordinated action in a large scale initiative like this and we believe that smart meter deployment in 65 percent of UK homes by 2015 is not possible,” Mark England, CEO of Sentec, said in a statement. “There is a great deal of work still to do to finalise the technical and regulatory framework for smart metering.”

In another report from IMS earlier this month, it revealed that £2.4 billion would be spent on smart home energy management devices over the next five years, suggesting that the nation’s target is perhaps achievable even with the technical challenges inherent in a large-scale roll out.

Falling behind the rest of Europe in terms of current deployment and predicted adoption is Germany, where last year only 1.64 per cent of homes were fitted with smart meters, growing to a paltry 5.09 per cent by 2015

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