EDF, one of the largest suppliers of electricity and gas to domestic users and small businesses in the UK, is leading the way in smart meter safety with the adoption of SMARTester, a wireless pressure testing system that gives reassurance of precise readings, a searchable database and traceability.
By using SMARTester, EDF’s smart meter installers are guided through industry specific tests so that they can be assured of a gas tight operation, compliance, and peace of mind for themselves and their customers.
Following the government’s pledge in 2017 and subsequent extension, Energy suppliers are required, by their licence, to take all reasonable steps to roll out smart meters to all their domestic and small business customers by the end of 2024. EDF has already installed over 1 million smart meters and each week are upgrading thousands more meters to smart.
With 3 million residential and SME customers, EDF is on track to upgrade all of its customers to smart. Improving Safety With each smart meter installation, EDF’s number one priority is safety for the customer, the installing engineer and the wider general public, particularly prescient whilst the country emerges from lockdown. The work carried out must be to industry standards and comply with IGEM technical standards. In accordance with IGEM/UP/1B, a series of pressure tests are required to be carried out at critical stages of the smart meter installation. One of the main benefits of SMARTester is the ability of the device, combined with the app, to lead the engineer through these various tests, recording and saving each one and determining the installation as a pass or fail result. This instant evidence gives EDF and the installing engineer reassurance that the new meter has been fitted compliantly and safely.
This reassurance of accuracy and traceability is what first interested EDF in the SMARTester system. Traditionally more conventional stand-alone gauges have been used and paper evidence recorded but these can be subject to human error and do not offer the same guarantee of 100% accuracy and account traceability that the SMARTester does.
Geoff Mills, Smart Meter & EV Installations Director commented: “Safety is a key priority at EDF. By adopting SMARTester, we are equipping our workforce with the latest technology to help ensure a safe gas smart meter installation. This is important to EDF because it protects our engineers and gives assurance to our customers that each one of our installations are carried out correctly, compliantly and safely.”
EDF have, so far, equipped 350 of their smart meter engineers with a SMARTester for use with their company issued Android phones. The engineers have been using the highly accurate, evidence gathering system that SMARTester offers, for over 12 months, as part of their essential pressure testing operations performed whilst installing new smart meters.
EDF is always looking for ways to reduce costs for the bill payer alongside safe working practices. By introducing a highly accurate pressure tester, this results in fewer incidents and therefore less investigations. In many cases, the engineer in question is not able to continue to work until the investigation is resolved. Evidence gathered using the SMARTester can provide proof of a competent installation instantly, resolving incidents in a matter of minutes, not weeks.
How does the SMARTester System Work?
It all starts with the SMARTester unit, which houses the stainlesssteel pressure sensor. The robust and waterproof case has been designed to meet the challenges of life in the field and comes with a 12-month calibration certificate, giving the reassurance of automatic compliance. The device uses two standard AA batteries and offers a battery life in excess of a year.
The SMARTester app is pre-programmed with specific industry tests and guides the gas engineer through the process step by step. Using Bluetooth, the gauge wirelessly transmits, at the touch of a button, live pressure data to the app where it is recorded and added to the test certificate. The on-board calibration certificate is unique to each device and ensures test authenticity.
Displayed in an easy-to-read dashboard, the data is packaged and sent to the cloud database in seconds. Here, monthly statistics and real-time workforce analytics can be monitored. GPS position, pressure readings, photographs, date and time along with calibration information are all stored within the printable test record.
The dashboard can be connected to existing enterprise resource programmes enabling scheduling and task management to be fully integrated. Test regimes are easy to edit so that the latest industry standards are rolled out seamlessly ensuring up to the minute conformance.