A specialist training facility has opened in Runcorn to help upskill engineers for smart meters, with millions of meters in homes and businesses due to be replaced by the end of 2020.
Smart meters are a key part of the government’s plans to revolutionise the UK’s ageing energy system.
By gathering real time information on energy use, it is hoped that they will encourage households and small business owners to better manage their energy, save money and support a more flexible energy network.
Around two million non-domestic sites are due to be upgraded with smart meters, encompassing SMEs, micro businesses and some larger businesses operating from single or multiple smaller sites.
The latest statistics show that there are now more than 8.6 million smart and advanced meters operating across the country in homes and businesses.
However, the government’s ambition to offer every home and small business a smart meter by the end of 2020 is under severe pressure, with millions of standard electricity meters still in place.
One of the problems facing the rollout is a lack of skilled engineers to keep up with demand.
To help the situation in the North West, the Compliance and Skills Academy (COSAC) has opened a specialist training centre in Runcorn.
The centre aims to upskill up to 200 engineers in its first year through a 12-week training course.
Andy Mason, managing director of COSAC, said: “There’s no doubt that achieving the government’s ambitious target is a mammoth task.
“With over 50 million gas and electricity meters in need of changing in less than three years, the demand for smart meter engineers has never been more acute.”