BB advises DECC on UK national roll out of smart gas and electricity meters


Bird & Bird is pleased to announce that it has been advising the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on the procurement of a series of major contracts on behalf of industry worth £2.2bn as part of DECC's Smart Metering Implementation Programme.

Providing for the roll out of 53m gas and electricity smart meters to homes and small businesses across Great Britain, the Smart Metering Implementation Programme is the most significant change in the British energy market since the conversion to North Sea gas in the 1970s. Most households in Britain will have smart meters installed by 2020.

DECC appointed Bird & Bird in August 2011 to advise on the commercial, contractual and strategic aspects of the procurement of the new IT and communications services which will underpin the Smart Metering Implementation Programme. Bird & Bird's role, assisting on multiple, parallel procurements at a time of significant regulatory change, required close teamwork with DECC over an extended period of time and covered a range of areas, including energy, electronics, communications, IT, finance and major projects expertise. 

Ronald Hendrikx, partner, Bird & Bird said: "We are thrilled to have worked with DECC over the last two years on this project. The Smart Metering Implementation Programme provides a real opportunity for innovation and has given a new meaning to the word "convergence", bringing together telecoms, IT and energy on an unprecedented scale. It has been fantastic to bring our expertise across all of these areas to the programme and create a new platform for the energy industry."

A spokesperson for DECC said: “We have been very pleased with Bird & Bird's support which provided integrated advice across a range of disciplines, a strong team-working ethos, and an unwavering focus on meeting deadlines.” 

The Bird & Bird team was led by partners Ronald Hendrikx, Ian Edwards and Peter Elliott.

Other law firms involved in finalisation of the data and communications contracts were Simmons & Simmons, Baker & McKenzie and Allen & Overy.