Since 2013, the Data Communications Company (DCC), one of our subsidiaries within the Capita group, has been licensed by the UK government to build and manage the central network for smart metering across Britain.
The DCC is responsible for operating the secure communications platform that will connect 53 million smart meters to energy suppliers, distribution network operators and other authorised third parties, such as software as a service (SaaS) providers.
Key data related to energy consumption passes through this highly secure network, allowing consumers to benefit from accurate billing, readily switch between energy suppliers while retaining their smart meter functionality, and manage the amount of energy they use in a more efficient way. The DCC platform’s stringent security standards are endorsed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
As the smart meter roll-out has evolved, so has the range of mandated programmes that the DCC has been asked to deliver. The large-scale meter switchover has also seen the DCC tasked with leading the migration of more than 16million first-generation meters (SMETS1) onto its central network. The migration is complex, and involves retro-fitting more than 500 technology variants.
The benefits to industry and consumers are estimated at £347m, as the meters remain in situ having regained smart capability, while consumers are freed from the need to deliver meter readings manually or put up with estimated bills, and are empowered to participate fully in the retail energy market. In addition, in 2016, DCC was awarded the role of supporting Ofgem’s Faster & More Reliable Switching Programme which will go live during summer 2022, delivering a smoother and quicker process for consumers wishing to switch energy provider, founded on much more accurate data.
At full scale, the DCC network will connect more than 30 million homes and small businesses across Britain. Beyond its immediate role of enabling the transformation of Britain’s energy system through digitisation, and the realisation of related Government policy objectives, thanks to its unparalleled reach and security, the platform has the potential to deliver an even wider range of public benefits in the future.
From parent to partner
DCC is a Capita-owned business, although it has always had its own board of directors and is steadily operating more independently. Nevertheless, we continue to play a central role supporting DCC’s evolution and ensuring it hits its targets, from customer service to the connection of smart meters onto its network.
We’ve been instrumental in DCC’s development from a team of half a dozen to 500 employees in just a few years. Our expertise in recruitment ensured that DCC was able to find and secure the talent it needed to build its workforce - founded on deep technical expertise and policy and regulatory knowledge - quickly and sustainably. we continue to support DCC through a range of related back-office functions, including payroll, digital onboarding, training and professional development and other HR capabilities.
In the five years between DCC being awarded the contract and the network going live in 2018, we played a central role in the network’s design and project management. We supported DCC as it embarked on the migration of more than 16 million SMETS1 smart meters onto the network – an older generation of smart meters that needed to be integrated to restore its live connection to the energy supplier. This facilitates smooth and easy switching – a significant consumer benefit of the programme.
We also take responsibility for managing the service desk, providing fast, accurate responses to enquiries from DCC’s diverse customers including energy companies and distribution network operators.
We’re proud to continue our work with DCC in the central role it plays in the digital transformation of Britain’s energy system.