European utilities

Per-Olof GranstromLocal governments, electricity network operators and the wider metering community in Europe is in great need of good advice ahead of the major roll-outs of smart meters, says Per-Olof  Granström, project coordinator at Meter-ON and the secretary general of EDSO for Smart Grids, and Marco Baron, project manager for Meter-ON. He also works for ENEL Distribuzione in the smart grids and new technologies development unit.

Marco BaronThe Meter-ON project is a European project that is supporting the implementation of smart metering solutions, providing real life experience and key recommendations to deal with existing barriers and challenges.

The project is based on a three-step approach – collecting smart metering project information, analysing each project and recommending the way forward.

The approach is being applied through three campaigns and within each of these campaigns, a new set of smart metering projects is added to the study, resulting in experience from a wide variety of smart metering deployments, demonstrations and pilot projects from all over the European Union, each campaign building on the experience of the last.

METERON-MAP

Meter-ON has completed two of its three campaigns, publishing intermediate key findings, lessons learned and preliminary recommendations based on 15 of the most representative European smart metering projects.

In the on-going third campaign, another eight interesting projects have been added to the analyses, from countries highlighted in blue in the figure above which also include interesting projects in non-European countries.

By June this year, the Meter-ON project will be able to provide national regulators and political decision makers, the smart metering industry and distribution system operators with final conclusions and recommendations.

Smart-metering experience

The lessons learned provided by Meter-ON are derived from the analysis of the smart metering project data and the additional cross-topic analysis, presented in the project deliverable D 3.1 Lessons learned.

They are classified by the categories: technology, coordination with other market players, internal processes and organisation, information system integration, communication and dissemination, relationship with the customer, relationship with the regulator, and new applications.

These are some of the highlights:

  • The development of a smart metering system is a lengthy and intricate process from a technological point of view – a large scale test-demonstration is necessary before a roll-out
  • Engaging the customer is a must for successful deployment – It is important to invest time and money in communicating the project features (context, benefits, constraints, etc.) to customers before deployment
  • Promoting the creation of a task force that includes all stakeholders will facilitate the work of regulators to accommodate smart metering in the corresponding national legislative framework
  • Concerning internal processes, smart metering projects are highly complex and affect almost all DSO business areas
  • There are a large number of synergies between smart metering and other new applications which DSOs need to take into account.

This version of the smart metering lessons learned deliverable is intermediate and will be updated as new smart metering projects are included in the Meter-ON research.

Recommendations for roll outs

Based on the relevant information analysed and the lessons learned, Meter-ON is providing key recommendations to foster smart metering deployments in Europe.

The project’s intermediate recommendations have been released in deliverable D 3.4 Recommendations.

Some highlights of the Meter-ON lessons learned so far:

  • Regulators should consider a fair distribution of costs, among the different actors benefitting from smart metering
  • Viable business models need a long payback timeframe and regulatory stability
  • To ensure interoperability, technical standards for interfaces and information exchange between the DSO and other agents, need to be established
  • Adequate market mechanisms need to be in place to obtain the full benefits of smart metering
  • Regulatory mechanisms should allow additional functionalities and recognise investments in smart metering
  • Standards for future services and installations (e.g. electric vehicle infrastructures, micro-generation, etc.) need to assure compatibility with existing and on-going smart metering roll-outs
  • There is a need for harmonised standards to protect CENELEC-A band PLC communication technologies.

The recommendations provided in D3.4 will be further reviewed and updated after the third on-going campaign, taking into account new findings.

Further interesting reading can be found on the project website www.meter-on.eu.

The Meter‐ON Consortium is led by the European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids (EDSO). Other Consortium partners: RSE, CEIT Alanova and Energylab (research and university‐linked institutions) and ZABALA (communication experts).