Call for smart meters in New Zealand


Hon David Parker,
Minister of Energy,
New Zealand 
Wellington, New Zealand — (METERING.COM) — December 21, 2006 – Smart metering to manage electricity demand and facilitate load control forms a key component in New Zealand’s proposed energy policy to 2050, which was released in draft form for comment last week.

Entitled ‘Powering our Future’ the strategy is aimed at developing a sustainable, low emissions energy system and focuses on enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also includes a draft energy efficiency and conservation strategy, which is aimed at maximizing both the efficient use of energy as well as the proportion of energy from renewable sources.

In an earlier study New Zealand’s electricity demand was projected to increase by 40% and greenhouse gas emission by 30% by 2030, if current energy production and consumption patterns remain unchanged.

The document says that consumers, particularly those with fixed-price contracts, currently have relatively weak incentives to respond to supply-side events, including high wholesale electricity prices or congested transmission or distribution lines. Thus an objective is to increase the price responsiveness of consumers, including improved demand-supply information flows to increase the efficient interaction of supply and demand in the electricity system, which requires technology, such as smart meters, as well as measures to facilitate greater participation in demand-side response. To this end it is proposed that new metering and load control technologies, including any regulation and rule changes required, be facilitated by the government by 2008.

The document also notes that smart metering in conjunction with household-scale distributed generation is one step towards the development of smart networks that manage power demand down to the residential level. Thus innovative smart metering installed as part of household-scale distributed generation systems can help the technology capitalise on its potential. Accordingly also initiatives will be explored to remove the barriers to entry to increase the uptake of distributed generation.

Other key elements of the strategy, which is open for comment until March 30, 2007, include other energy efficiency improvements to homes and commercial buildings, improved efficiencies of energy appliances, and improved efficiencies in the transport sector.