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Firms sign up to assist government smart meter plan

Four firms have signed contracts to establish the Data and Communications Company (DCC) which will manage the government’s smart meter roll out

Four companies will share the £2bn contract to manage the smart meter roll out

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey today announced that the companies will team up to build and manage data infrastructure, sharing contracts worth more than £2bn. 

The contracts – with Telefonica, Arqiva, CGI IT and Gemserv – were provisionally announced in August, prior to the finalisation of the deals.

‘A significant milestone’

Clinching these is a “a significant milestone”, he said, regarding the government’s plans to introduce 53 million electricity and gas smart meters to homes around the country by the end of the decade.

Capita PLC was granted a 12 year, £175m contract to manage the DCC. This will involve the rolling out of a secure two-way communications system between smart meters and a central communications hub.

Meanwhile, Capita has also contracted Arqiva Ltd in a bid to provide communications to and from smart meters in the North of England and Scotland over the next 15 years. This deal is worth some £625m. Telefonica UK is set to provide the same service in the Midlands and south of the country, with this deal valued at £1.5bn.

In addition, Capita has signed a contract with CGI IT, which will see it develop and operate the system controlling the movement of messages to and from smart meters.

Gemserv, meanwhile, has been awarded a £10 million four-year contract. As part of this deal it will administer the Smart Energy Code, which is aiming to ensure the protection of privacy and data by making sure operators are adhering to standards.

Smart meters to help manage energy use

Smart meters are designed to help homes and businesses make the most of their energy usage and potentially save money on their bills. It is also hoped the technology will lay the foundations for a series of new smart grid systems and services that will decrease pressure on the grid by automatically reducing power at peak times.

However, critics have raised concerns over the delivery plan, with many believing it to be too ambitious. Others have warned that the reported energy efficiency gains will fail to be realised, while some have questioned the impact on householders’ privacy, due to their energy usage being tracked.

Davey commented that the rollout of smart meters would benefit both consumers and the UK economy, however.

He commented: “Smart meters offer a range of intelligent functions.

“They will provide consumers near real-time information on their energy use in pounds and pence, as well as accurate bills to help them better manage their energy use.

“The rollout will support investment and growth, offering significant net benefits to the GB economy.”

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