Logica and SAP in exclusive joint bid for UK Smart Meter data provisioning

Smart meter

The UK has an interesting Smart Meter infrastructure model. Data from all the country’s Smart Meters will flow to a centralised data repository (called the DCC), from where, energy retailers will pull the data for billing purposes. The beauty of this system is that consumers dictate who has access to their data, and so switching energy providers, is not held up by data ownership issues.

The build-out of this system is still at very early stages with RFP’s expected towards the end of the year but SAP and Logica have come out of the blocks early with an announcement that they are going to put in a joint bid to become the data service provider for the DCC.

Logica and SAP are both heavily involved in the utilities sector in the UK, so it makes sense for them to bid for this – the interesting aspect is that they agreed to bid together and that their joint bid is exclusive.

The six main suppliers in the UK are all either involved in trials, or in the process of starting to trial smart meters. All six are using Logica’s head-end system for their trials, so if Logica and SAP win the bid, the transition to the DCC system should be relatively painless.

Talking to Tara McGeehan, Logica’s Head of Utilities UK on Monday, she said that the idea behind the bid was to move the debate away from technology and comms, onto the power of the data to affect things like micro-generation, energy efficiency and smart grids.

Having seen Centrica’s Smart Meter Analytics application, which runs on SAP’s HANA, earlier this year, the proposition that there is gold in them thar data, certainly rings true.

Photo credit Tom Raftery


Google, Microsoft, shutter their home energy management offerings

Google PowerMeter

Last week Google announced that it was shutting down its PowerMeter application (a screenshot of which is above). A couple of days later Microsoft divulged that it was closing its PowerMeter competitor, Microsoft Hohm.

This is very disappointing because the two products were decidly disruptive and, as Google mentioned, studies show that having simple access to energy information helps consumers reduce their energy use by up to 15%. Both services cited lack of uptake as the reason for their termination.

In Microsoft’s case, there is a very good reason why this was so, it never opened up Hohm beyond the US – if you only allow 4% of the world’s population access to your application, you can’t really claim to be surprised if you don’t see significant uptake.

PowerMeter though, in its announcement said –

our efforts have not scaled as quickly as we would like, so we are retiring the service

Why then did Google’s PowerMeter not scale, despite being open to all comers?

Simply because Google were too early to market, I suspect.



Being a trailblazer meant that getting data into PowerMeter was not trivial. The only way to make it easy for data entry would have been if Google managed to sell its services to utility companies but Google had very little success with this approach. Why would utility companies allow Google access to their customer usage data? That was never a runner.

The alternative was to use a device like a CurrentCost – an in-home energy meter which had the ability to upload its data to PowerMeter. However, as I detailed in this post, there were multiple problems with the CurrentCost meters which meant they were never a reliable option for PowerMeter data entry.

Obviously, if you can’t get your data into PowerMeter, it is not going to be of much use to you.

The need for real-time energy information is obvious. It is very difficult to identify wasteful electricity practices when you receive your consumption information (i.e. your bill) up to two months after you used it.

So what now?

Well, it looks like we are back to getting this information from our utility companies. Things are changing (albeit at a glacial pace) on that front though. As I mentioned in my post on Centrica’s Smart Meter Analytics implementation, the technological barriers to rolling out a compelling home energy management have come way down.

Now if utility companies actually roll out energy management applications properly, we could see significant reductions in wasteful energy use.

Photo credit Tom Raftery