Adopting strategies to ‘get through the door’ that couple an enhanced customer experience with the ability of meter installation companies to meet the challenge of controlling the cost to deliver, will be crucial to the success of the forthcoming smart meter roll-out in the UK.

This is the message from a recently published white paper from Wheatley Associates, a provider of metering software to the UK utilities industry and mobile workforce scheduling solutions.

“With over 50 million meters to be changed, the sheer size and scale of the UK smart meter roll-out is unprecedented,” said Jeremy Goulding, CEO of Wheatley Associates. “As organisations finalise their plans, those tasked with delivering the roll-out will be wrestling with how to reconcile the demands for increased customer engagement against the challenge of controlling the cost to deliver.”

The white paper details how a new generation of software tools, such as the Smart Roll-out Optimiser (pictured), developed jointly by Wheatley Associates with another utilities software and services specialist, C&C Group, can be deployed to underpin the strategic planning of the smart meter installation process, maximising implementation efficiency at the same time as ensuring maximum quality of service (QoS) levels to customers.

These tools can be deployed in conjunction with existing work management and scheduling tools optimised for the specific characteristics of the metering mix to address the skill requirements, scale and complexity of the smart meter installation process.

Entitled ‘Smart Metering: Getting Through the Door – Understanding how the correct software application can enhance both deployment strategies and the customer experience’, the white paper is authored by Craig Edge, Wheatley Associates’ chief consulting engineer.

“What, on the face of it might seem a relatively straightforward exercise, is actually a highly complex process,” said Edge. “Although much can be learned from the day to day challenges faced by existing metering operations, rather than increasing risk by deploying generic work management and scheduling tools, success will depend on exploiting a new generation of support software, specifically designed to meet the smart metering challenge.”