Distributors should be responsible for smart metering in Europe, says GEODE


Barcelona, Spain — (METERING.COM) — December 9, 2009 – The distribution system operators (DSOs) in Europe should be responsible for smart metering and should possess the infrastructure, forming the basis for an efficient value chain across all participants, according to the European energy distributor group, GEODE (Groupement Européen des entreprises et Organismes de Distribution d’ Energie).

In a new position paper on smart metering prepared by GEODE’s Intelligent Networks Working Group, the organization says this view is based on the fact that the other two options – that the supplier manages the smart metering infrastructure and that responsibility for metering is disconnected from both DSO and supplier – both create problems with customer switching.

GEODE says it sees five different ways to recuperate the investment necessary for a smart metering project: from customers, internal efficiency within DSO/metering provider, suppliers, government or similar, or new services. A mix of some, if not all, of these should be utilized in order to create a positive return on a smart metering investment.

Regarding access to meter data GEODE says the party responsible for metering plays a key role in energy markets. Its services include meter data services such as meter reading, data provision and additional smart meter functionalities such as remote disconnection and tariff change. Whatever metering model is in place, it is essential to ensure non-discriminatory access to meter data and/or smart meter functionalities to all suppliers authorized by the customer according to the contract.

In terms of functionalities, GEODE says it is important that one aims for the highest level of smart metering functionality and makes sure that the regulations takes full advantage of the existing level of technology in order that the investments do not become obsolete too soon.

Smart metering systems should have functional and performance characteristics that offer the same minimum options to all customers within a country. The main functionalities that should be carefully considered for smart electricity meters are: remote meter reading, load profile data, on demand metered data access for customers, on demand meter data access for authorized 3rd party, provision of variable time-of-use tariffs, remote meter management, remote demand reduction, remote connection/disconnection, quality of supply, and price signal to customers.

For gas meters the number of needed functions is smaller than for electricity.

Further, given that smart meters are at the heart of smart grids, DSOs should carefully consider their investment in smart metering, in order that the chosen system can in an optimal way support future smart grids.

The paper also notes the mandate to CENELEC for a common set of standards across Europe and stresses that standardization at European level is needed and should be made on open communication level. In addition, harmonization on a national level on technical infrastructure between electricity and gas could decrease the investment cost where it thus becomes possible to use the same infrastructure.

The GEODE Working Group on Intelligent Networks is chaired by Anders Hedenstedt, GEODE chairman and CEO of Göteborg Energi. The position paper, which updates GEODE’s June 2008 smart metering position, was authored by Tomas Arnewid, project manager for smart metering at Göteborg Energi, and GEODE coordinator Carmen Gimeno.