What is the real story behind the German cost benefit analysis on smart metering, and what does this mean for the future of smart metering in Germany?
The eyes of the metering world have been on the German market in the last part of the year when the results of a cost benefit analysis for smart metering in Europe’s largest electricity market was due to be released. Smart Energy International spoke to some of the players involved in the development of the report, and the market, and provides some insights into the recommendations and next steps.
Germany’s electricity market is one of the largest in Europe. The market is highly fragmented with more than 900 distribution companies who have metering responsibility. However, there is also a liberalised metering market which means that while metering is still dominated by regulated network companies – 97% of the metering points are operated by the distribution companies – 3% are operated by non-regulated or competitive metering companies. That makes it difficult to find the right approach to a mandatory smart metering rollout on the one hand, and on the other hand, to improve business competition in the metering business. In addition, in contrast to the US, there are no vertically integrated utilities: the various steps of the value chain are separated and have to operate separately.