The smart meter rollout, slowed by the various waves of the pandemic and lockdown measures, found new monument in March, data from ElectraLink shows.
The easing of lockdown measure and the successful vaccination programme allowed engineers from energy suppliers to once again enter homes and small businesses to install the high-tech meters.
Smart meter installers, many of whom were furloughed last year when COVID-19 first disrupted life, installed 219,000 next-generation gas and electricity meters last month, a third (34%) more than in February.
Installs were also up 30% compared to March 2020, when pandemic fears first gripped Britons and social distancing regulations suspended all but essential meter installations.
Smart installations dipped 27% between February and March 2020 and then continued to slide through the spring. Between April and June, just 135,000 new meters came online.
Installations resumed cautiously in the summer but it wasn’t until September that the first year-on-year increase was posted since the pandemic began. Installations ultimately peaked at 247,000 in October before work was again frozen by a national lockdown.
Ultimately, just under two million smart meters were installed in 2020, down 27% compared to 2019 and the lowest number since 2016.
The disruption of the pandemic pushed energy regulator Ofgem to give suppliers six additional months to offer all homes and small businesses smart meters.
Suppliers must take “all reasonable steps” to install smart meters in every home and small business by 30 June 2021, while the final deadline is 30 June 2025.
Just over half a million smart meters have been installed so far this year.
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