Drax tests smart meter for large companies

  • June 30, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

UK energy company Drax Group is working with the Data Communications Company (DCC), smart meter manufacturer EDMI and software company Utiligroup on a smart meter that will give large industrial and commercial businesses greater control of their energy use.
A trial of the polyphase Smets 2 smart meters could help larger businesses control their power use and make them more sustainable.
The technology needed to install the smart meters in businesses with larger and more complex electricity supplies, such as schools or large commercial premises, hasn’t been available, so some of the largest energy users have been unable to benefit from the smartest technologies.
Polyphase Smets 2 smart meters will allow larger businesses to track their energy usage with the same software used by millions of single-phase smart meters installed in homes and small businesses across the UK.
The technology could enable Drax’s energy supply businesses, Haven Power and Opus Energy, to offer large businesses access to smart metering technology, giving them greater control over their energy use with the potential to operate more sustainably.
“We’re confident that this new smart meter technology is going to be a game changer for thousands of our larger customers,” said Paul Sheffield, managing director of Drax’s customers business. “This technology will enable them to enjoy greater flexibility and control over their electricity use, making them more sustainable, which will be good for both the environment and their bottom line.”
The meters will be field tested with selected Drax business users, such as utilities and large NHS trusts, in the autumn.
The work by Drax, the DCC and EDMI has continued despite the Covid-19 pandemic with all partners working remotely to develop and test the technology. The project has included establishing a polyphase smart meter testing lab, where the technology is being developed within the DCC’s Manchester facility, the operational headquarters of Britain’s smart meter network. The facility can test 2400 smart meters simultaneously and has a technical operation centre that can monitor the install and operation of every smart meter across the country.
“The DCC’s network is the digital backbone of the energy industry, and our customers like Drax are constantly working to help us extend its reach to more homes and businesses,” said Dan Lambert, chief operating officer for the DCC. “Polyphase smart meters will make it available to even more businesses, from farms to tech start-ups. It’s been impressive how well the whole sector has collaborated throughout lockdown on this complex work. With our customers, we’re making Britain more connected so we can all lead smarter, greener lives.”
The smart meters will operate securely on the network, using a specialist software platform from Utiligroup, a technology-services partner of Drax.
“We are incredibly proud of the work this partnership is achieving,” said Alan Masterman, managing director of smart meter manufacturer EDMI Europe. “Smart meters are the foundation of the energy revolution and are therefore an essential component for large businesses that have previously not had access to smart technology. At EDMI we are committed to the development of products that best meet market demands for our customers. The close working of both Drax and the DCC has resulted in the development and creation of a meter that supports the continued expansion of the smart meter programme.”