Homeowners in the United Kingdom could soon see next-generation smart meters installed in their homes, following the selection of a software partner by the National Grid.
IFS Applications 9 is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application suite that will support National Grid Smart in the work of procuring smart meters and scheduling their installation in customer homes.
National Grid smart meter push
The National Grid Smart program to introduce smart meters into UK homes began in November 2016, following a number of setbacks that derailed the government’s initial smart meter program, which dates back as far as 2011.
By August 2016, only 1.2 percent of UK homes had an installed smart meter, according to figures in Computerworld UK.
As per Smart Energy GB’s website, however, the government remains committed to ensuring energy suppliers install smart meters in every home in England, Wales and Scotland, a total of more than 26 million homes, by 2020.
The roll-out is part of plans to upgrade the UK’s aging energy system, and the government’s commitment to the global push to tackle climate change.
Smart meters are known to give users more control over the energy they use, as well as helping them understand bills better, by allowing them to see what the energy they use costs.
National Grid Smart offers a fully-managed smart meter service to national energy suppliers, with services ranging from asset financing and installation to managed logistics and customer communications.
The program is expected to deliver a range of benefits for consumers and organizations, including:
- The provision of real-time information on energy usage to both consumers and suppliers
- Enhanced ability to manage energy usage, fix problems, and save money
- An end to estimated billing—consumers and organizations will only be billed for the energy they actually use
- Easier switching—smoother and faster to switch suppliers to get the best deals
Where IFS comes in
Each phase of the National Grid roll-out will be supported by functionality in IFS Applications 9, including financials, procurement, asset management, project management, service management, and mobile workforce management.
The solution will supposedly provide a constant feed of installation and procurement data from engineers in the field via the IFS Mobile Work Order application, enabling National Grid Smart to monitor progress and address initial challenges swiftly.
In a statement, Kerri Matthews, Director of National Grid Smart, said: “The implementation of IFS Applications 9 mirrors the concept of smarter thinking that underpins our smart metering program, helping us access vital information in real-time to ensure that we’re able to meet tight project deadlines and, in the long-term, ensure a smooth roll out of interconnected smart meters.”
“IFS’s solution stood out to us as a user-friendly ‘single’ system, which could centralize our data management capability, be deployed and adapted within a tight timeframe, and which will work seamlessly with our wider solution landscape. We were particularly impressed with the speed of deployment – we had initial system functionality up and running in two months. IFS’s solutions have been viewed as trailblazing internally, and we’re excited about the opportunities they’ll create for us as we transform the way consumers and organizations use energy.”