The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has selected Capita, Spain's Telefonica and CGI IT UK (CGI) as the preferred bidders for the deployment of smart meters across Great Britain.
The UK Government's £11.7bn smart grid programme is anticipated to help energy customers reduce gas and electricity bills by allowing them to monitor how much they are using through a smart meter in their house.
The programme is also expected to save energy suppliers money, because it removes the need for them to send somebody round to read the meter.
According to DECC, Capita has been awarded the £175m data and communications company licence, while CGI has been named as the preferred bidder for the £75m licence to develop and operate the system controlling the movement of messages to and from smart meters.
For a £10m contract, Germserv has also been selected as the bidder for the Smart Energy Code Administrator and Secretariat contract to maintain and update the industry code governing the use of smart meters across the energy industry.
DECC also announced that communications company Arqiva has been selected as the preferred bidder to provide the smart metering communications service for northern England and Scotland.
Sensus, together with Arqiva, will provide the long-range radio technology for a private, secure and resilient communications network.
Welcoming the DECC's decision, the Institution of Engineering and Technology policy panel chair Martyn Thomas said, "This is a major IT project needing professional systems engineering to ensure that the whole end to end system works securely and reliably not just the individual components."
Thomas said there is much work to do between now and the start of mass roll-out to ensure that the system performs as designed.
"It is important that the industry, in conjunction with DECC and Ofgem, now work in a harmonised way to ensure a successful rollout and a positive consumer experience," Thomas added.
According to Thomas, smart meters are a vital first step towards creating the low carbon energy infrastructure of the future.
Image: The smart grid programme will help energy customers reduce gas and electricity bills. Photo: courtesy of Zuzu.