Why we’ve revised a key gas meter installation standard

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Because of the UK Government’s push to have suppliers offer all households a smart gas meter by 2020, we’ve made revisions to one of the main gas meter installation standards. Here’s what you need to know about the changes.

As you know, the UK Government has mandated that every UK household and small business be offered smart energy meters by 2020 – next year. And despite some teething troubles and a slower than expected start, the number in operation is increasing steadily.

The latest Government statistics show that as of the end of September 2018 there were around 12.8 million smart and advanced meters operating across homes and small businesses in Great Britain.[1] Among large energy suppliers alone[2], 1,128,000 smart meters were installed in the third quarter of 2018, of which 495,400 were gas meters.

More to the point, about a quarter of all domestic meters operated by large energy suppliers are  now operating in smart mode, but clearly that still leaves around three-quarters to potentially make the switch, which in the case of gas meters could mean up to 15.7 million meters still to be replaced.

Gas meter installers therefore potentially have a lot of work ahead of them. So it’s timely that BSI has now issued a revised gas meter installation standard which takes into account the Government’s 2020 mandate.

Changes made to the standard

The standard in question is BS 6400-2:2018 Specification for installation, exchange, relocation, maintenance and removal of gas meters with a maximum capacity not exceeding 6 m3/h. Medium pressure (2nd family gases) which applies to primary installations of credit or prepayment diaphragm and ultrasonic gas meters.

The standard was revised principally by the addition of a whole new section covering maintenance activities. This is because these details are cited in the Government mandate of offering all households a smart meter by 2020.

At the same time, it made sense to use the opportunity to make other updates. So normative references have been changed to include updated British Standards such as BS 8499:2017 Specification of domestic gas meter boxes and meter bracket. Previous inconsistencies, including the commentary to sub-clause 12.1 which contradicted sub-clause 21.1, have been resolved. Clause 13 was amended to cover the resisting of the equipotential bond. Clause 15 was amended to add that records be held for a primary meter in line with the requirements of the Gas Meters (Information on Connection and Disconnection) Regulations 1996.

The result is that the standard is clearer and completely up to date, so it’s more helpful for installers than ever.

Who gains from the changes?

On that point, remember that the standard exists to support gas meter installers – we think there are around 3,000 – as well as the establishments which train them.

The new standard will not only help with changes as a result of the mandate. Its core purpose, from when it was first published in 1985, is to help installers – who are continually reassessed – stay on top of the requirements they need to meet, stemming from 16 UK and European regulations, including the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.

The standard has always provided the technical know-how to deliver comprehensive, safe and cost-efficient gas services to customers and communities across the UK. This new version will continue in that tradition at the same time as meeting the needs of 2019 and beyond.

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[1] BEIS (November 2018) Smart Meters Quarterly Report to end September, see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/759735/2018_Q3_Smart_Meters_Report_FINAL.pdf

[2] Small energy suppliers – those supplying to less than 250,000 customers – are only required to supply BEIS with annual data at year-end