NMi has opened a new SMDA test facility in Southampton for interoperability and interchangeability testing, which is live since the 4th of August 2017!
Smart metering systems are being installed in around 26 million homes and small businesses in Great Britain. Correctly performing and secure smart meters and devices will ensure that smart metering benefits are delivered to energy consumers, energy suppliers and other industry parties. Assurance that smart metering devices will meet requirements and can be exchanged without impact to other devices will provide confidence and eliminate avoidable costs.
Energy suppliers in liaison with other key players decided that specific Smart Meter Device Assurance (SMDA) scheme was needed to deliver the necessary confidence to consumers, suppliers and financiers that smart metering devices in homes and small businesses will work properly. In January 2015, Gemserv was appointed as the SMDA Scheme Operator by the SMDA Company (SMDA Co) to take the main task of setting up the assurance testing scheme.
One of the key aspects of the SMDA scheme was to have an independent test house that conducts testing of the devices. NMi was selected to take this forward as the official SMDA Test House at the end of last year. This was an important step towards supporting the smart metering rollout in Great Britain.
A new dedicated SMDA laboratory in Southampton that offers all necessary testing services for smart metering devices was opened by NMi. Since the 4th of August 2017 this laboratory is live. Manufacturers of smart gas and electricity meters and other devices, such as In-Home Displays (IHDs) and Pre-Payment Interface Devices (PPMIDs), can have their products tested in this laboratory against a set of test specifications developed by the SMDA Scheme Operator in consultation with the scheme members. When after testing a smart metering device is found to meet the SMDA test specifications, that design will be awarded the SMDA assurance mark and registered in the Device Assurance Register (DAR).
The SMDA testing consists mainly of two items:
- interoperability testing, to demonstrate that smart meters are able to communicate properly with the Data Communications Company (DCC) systems; and
- interchangeability testing, to check that all devices connected to any individual Home Area Network (HAN), such as meters, IHDs, PPMIDs or HAN Connected Auxiliary Load Switches (HCALCs) can communicate and operate with each other correctly, irrespective of the device manufacturer.
Henri Schouten, Business Development Manager Utilities at NMi explains: “We are proud to be selected SMDA Test House and offer those services to support the Smart Metering rollout in Great Britain. In our Southampton lab the smart metering devices will be tested and examined using all necessary Wide Area Network (WAN) and HAN communication technologies and applications. We have also prepared specific equipment for electricity meters to perform the interoperability and interchangeability testing to simulate real life operation using actual electrical load where required. Furthermore, for gas meters a specific rack is installed, producing air flow that will also simulate real life conditions during testing.”…