Government has published a consultation on a draft Statutory Instrument that will enable the licensing of a new national provider of communications services to and from gas and electricity smart meters, to be referred to as the Data and Communications Company (“DCC”).

Government’s ambition is to fit a smart meter at every home in Great Britain. The mass rollout of smart meters will allow customers greater control over their energy consumption as well as ensuring that Britain can manage the transition to a low-carbon economy efficiently and cost-effectively. 

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) impact assessment estimates that the mass-rollout of smart metering would cost £11.7 billion to implement, providing a benefit of over £18.7 billion by 2030.

The newly-announced DCC will centrally manage the communication of data to and from smart metering equipment in the domestic sector. DECC hopes that the DCC will be central to the smooth operation of the smart meter system, providing a two-way communications channel between smart meters and a central data hub.

The Statutory Instrument defines the licensable activity of the DCC and amends primary and secondary legislation and other licence conditions which are consequent upon the establishment of the DCC. The proposed regulatory interventions are designed to deliver a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework that will create a commercially viable and effective DCC.   

The full consultation document can be read here. DECC requires responses to the consultation by March 23, 2012.