Smart meter showdown in the UK!



Quick Take: Rival groups are getting ready to submit their final bids for the UK's massive, multi-billion-dollar smart meter rollout. The so-called SmartReach group is built upon communications technology from Sensus. A rival group is building on top of Silver Spring Network's RF mesh communications technology. Other groups are expected to bid as well.


I expect the eventual system to support multiple smart meters. When it comes to the communications, however, this is likely to be a winner-take-all scenario. I don't want to call it make-or-break. But when you consider that the UK may provide a template for other countries in Europe and elsewhere, this is certainly one of the most important showdowns we've seen for years. -- Jesse Berst


No surprise that smart grid vendors have their sights set on Britain, which is expected to install 53 million smart meters by 2019.


According to a Bloomberg report, several groups are poised to submit final bids on the 12.1 billion-pound ($18.5 billion) U.K. program. Bloomberg says the SmartReach group, which includes BT, BAE Systems Detica, Arqiva and Sensus, is vying with a proposal from Vodafone and Silver Spring Networks to build the communications systems. There are also bids from Airwave Solutions and Telefonica SA.


The Department of Energy and Climate Change is expected to announce the winning bid in July.


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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.