Re: Points from a briefing
the "first generation" of meters, or the backend connectivity (it wasn't clear) won't talk to suppliers other than the one that installed it for you
It's both meters and back end. The meters going in at the moment are SMETS 1 standard, and they talk directly to your provider (and won't talk to others if you switch). You do not want a SMETS 1 meter.
SMETS 2 is a much improved standard, you can see GCHQ's input - for a start elliptic curve cryptography is mandatory. SMETS 2 meters don't talk to your provider, they talk to the DCC (data communications company) and your provider gets your readings from them. Equally, if your provider changes time of use pricing (think Economy 7, but with up to 8 bands a day), that has to be routed via the DCC.
The problem with this is that Crapita has been awarded the contract to be DCC, hence the lateness, crapness, and security worries.
The big thing about smart meters is not the remote switch off (unless you're paranoid) but the enabling infrastructure for time of use pricing. Once SM penetration gets high enough, expect providers to have two kinds of tariff - fixed price all day, or time of use pricing where peak times have massive cost and off peak rates are much cheaper. The former will be overall more expensive to "nudge" you towards accepting a smart meter and switch to ToU. At this point home battery storage will take off, with people charging batteries during off peak and running off them at peak, thus spreading the load, and reducing the grid requirements for peaking plant. We're also seeing a move towards grid level battery storage.
We'll also see smart appliances that talk to the meter and adjust their loads depending on grid conditions and ToU pricing.
If you want to take a look at the SMETS 2 standard, look at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/smart-metering-equipment-technical-specifications-second-version.