SMEs can save money on training for smart meters

A North East company is getting ahead of the game to train a new generation of people to fit the nation’s “smart” electricity and gas meters.
And to get the ball rolling, Newcastle-based Future Energy Solutions Ltd is offering big discounts for SMEs attending its new state-of-the-art centre in the city, which is the first in the region and among the first in the UK.

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Trainees from businesses employing 49 or fewer people will pay only £750 for the course (plus assessment fees of £200 for electric and £275 for gas) if they complete their accredited meter installation training before mid-December – a saving of £1,250 on the electric meter installation course and £1,925 on the gas meter course.

Qualification from the course opens the door for newly qualified meter installers to join the drive to install smart meters in every home in the country by 2020.
The courses are aimed primarily at trained electricians and gas installers in the North of England and Scotland. Future Energy estimates that, based on government figures, up to 16,000 meter installers will need to be trained to meet the 2020 target.
Future Energy aims to help meet that demand by training 400 meter installers a year for the next five years.
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters and are a cornerstone of government plans for upgrading the UK’s energy system.
Consumers with smart meters will be offered an in-home display (IHD) that lets them see how much energy they are using and what it will cost. This will let them have more control over their energy use and help them save energy and money.
Future Energy is the brainchild of well-known North East entrepreneur Tim Cantle-Jones, who said: “This is a really exciting time in the power supply industry and our aim is to be in the vanguard and help create here in the North East an army of installers to lead the national drive to get smart meters into every home and business.”
Between now and 2020 energy suppliers will be responsible for replacing more than 53 million gas and electricity meters, involving visits to 30 million homes and small businesses.
Future Energy’s training centre, on Armstrong Industrial Estate in the West End of Newcastle, uses meters manufactured by EDMI.
Nick Walton, technical consultant at EDMI, said: “We are delighted to be working with Future Energy Solutions. Our smart meters work by communicating directly with the energy supplier, ensuring bills are based on accurate readings, rather than estimates. They also allow customers to track their energy usage in real-time.”
Future Energy has negotiated special rates with hotel partner, the Copthorne, on Newcastle Quayside, to accommodate trainees from outside the region on the courses, which last one week and six evenings.
Electricity smart meter courses begin on September 29, October 27, November 3 and December 1 and courses for gas smart meter installation start on October 13 and November 17.
Would-be trainees should contact Julie Sharples at Future Energy, on 0191 276 0065.