UK issues public tender for smart grid communications network

The Department of Energy and Climate Change of the United Kingdom has issued a public tender (request for proposals or RFP) for a company (or companies) to provide communications services to connect smart electricity and gas meters in up to 30 million households and businesses in the UK. These services will consist of wide area networks, telephone and data transmission services, data transmission services and IT services such as consulting, software development, Internet and support. This is a huge project with a value of up to £4.5 billion. The deadline for responses is 14 October 2011.

The bid is divided into three lots:

Lot 1 – Smart meter communications services in northern GB including Scotland;
Lot 2 – Smart meter communications services in central GB including Wales;
Lot 3 – Smart meter communications services in southern GB.

The value of each of the lots will depend on the contracted term (i.e. 9 to 15 years plus possible extensions) and the precise boundary of the geography that is agreed upon by the contracting party and the DECC. However, the total contract value of each lot is expected to be between GBP 330m and GBP 1,525m (330 000 000 and 1 525 000 000 GBP) including possible extensions and exclusive of VAT.

The purpose of the smart meter project is to reduce carbon emissions and allow people to manage more efficiently their use of electricity and gas.

Here is a portion of the text from the official UK smart grid public tender document on the European Union’s Tenders Electronic Daily website:

“The UK Government has an objective for every home in Great Britain (GB) to have smart energy meters, empowering people to manage their energy consumption and reduce their carbon emissions. Businesses and public sector users would also have smart or advanced energy metering suited to their needs. The rollout of smart meters will play an important role in GB’s transition to a low-carbon economy, and help us meet some of the long-term challenges we face in ensuring an affordable, secure and sustainable energy supply.”

“Communication of data to and from smart meters in the domestic sector will be managed centrally by a new, GB-wide function covering both the electricity and gas sectors. We refer to this new function as the central data and communications company (DCC). In advance of the appointment of the DCC through a competitive licence application process, DECC is initiating the process for procurement of the data and communication services that will be contracted to DCC. For the avoidance of doubt, although DECC (referred to as “the Authority”) will be administering the procurement process, the services will be provided to DCC and it is intended that DCC would take over the procurement from DECC and sign the contracts. As such DECC has therefore elected to voluntarily follow the broad principles of the competitive dialogue procedure.”

“This contract notice covers the procurement of communications services to connect meters in up to 30 000 000 households and businesses across GB (initial figures – subject to growth). The communications services will be split into three geographically based lots. The Authority’s objective is for every home in GB to be capable of receiving smart metering services. The Authority does not expect to tender separate contracts to companies providing a particular solution within a lot, but will tender communications services contract(s) on a prime contractor basis for each lot. The successful organisation(s) would then be responsible for managing any subcontractors and delivering an integrated solution meeting the required coverage targets.”

“Bidders should register their request to participate in relation to this contract notice on 14.10.2011 (17:00) (as specified in section IV.3.4 of this notice). Registration should be by way of submitting a completed Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). Instructions for the submission of PQQ responses will be provided within the PQQ. The PQQ and prospectus will be provided to bidders on receipt of a properly formatted email request to providing the following information: Subject: Request to receive smart metering data services PQQ Organisation name: [Organisation] Single point of contact (SPOC): [Name] SPOC job title: [title] SPOC email address: [email] SPOC contact telephone: [number] Copies of the PQQ and prospectus will be issued on request, and will be available from 9.9.2011.”

“The deadline to submit clarification questions in relation to this contract notice or the PQQ is on 26.9.2011 (9:00), further instructions will be provided within the PQQ. For the avoidance of doubt, expressions of interest received to the smart metering implementation programme’s previous Prior Information Notice (2011/S 91-148947, 9.5.2011) will not be carried forward. Bidders must expressly respond to this contract notice if they wish to register their interest to participate and to receive a PQQ. A separate contract notice has been issued for smart metering data services. Bidders wishing to bid for communications services and data services must respond to each contact notice separately.”

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Link: Department of Energy and Climate Change Smart Meter Communications Public Tender


  1. RobertWilliams says

    1. Must-See 4-minute youtube video on Smart meters: