Case studies

Providing expert advice on the national roll-out of smart meters

key fact

The infrastructure that will be created as a result of the SMIP will reach approximately 53 million meters in 30 million homes by 2020

Assessing solutions for a complex, multi-billion-pound programme affecting homes throughout the UK


The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) approached us seeking impartial evaluations of a number of proposals that it had received for the Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP), an initiative introducing smart electricity and gas meters into homes across Great Britain by 2020.

The solutions proposed covered the core infrastructure responsible for linking the smart meters to energy suppliers and network operators directly. We were asked to determine whether the various solutions were viable in the first place, as well as whether the costs were appropriate and if there were any key issues or risks that the communications providers had not identified or addressed. In order to avoid any detrimental impact on the overall course of the SMIP, reviewing these proposals needed to be completed within a two-week window.


Our independent assessment of the various communications service provider solutions covered three major areas: coverage, capacity and radio spectrum. As such, we assembled an expert team covering all potential aspects of delivery including 2G/3G/4G cellular transmission, long-range radio, mesh radio, satellite, power-line communications and home-area networks (HANs).

Working in parallel across multiple locations with careful management and coordination, we were able to evaluate each solution from top to bottom, as well as providing independent benchmarks of the solution costs. We produced ‘should-cost’ models for each SMIP scenario, drawing comparisons with similar implementations of smart meter projects both in the UK and overseas.


We successfully delivered our assessment of all solutions within the agreed window, culminating in a comprehensive appraisal report highlighting key issues and risks within the proposed solutions. This insight was instrumental in the DECC’s later stages of evaluation, providing areas of focus in the ultimate procurement phase. We were then asked to provide direct support in the DECC’s technical tender evaluation activities, while also providing additional specialist advice leading up to final supplier selection.

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