European smart metering landscape reviewed


Vienna, Austria — (METERING.COM) — February 24, 2011 – The adoption of smart metering in Europe is highly dynamic and to a large extent driven by regulations, with the result that a majority of the countries in Europe have or are about to implement some form of legal framework for the installation of smart meters.

This is the subject of a new report from the SmartRegions, the European Smart Metering Landscape Report, which analyzes the development of smart metering and metering services in Europe. It consists of in-depth country profiles of all EU member states and Norway together with comprehensive case studies of related services for consumer feedback and peak-load shifting.

The report analyzes countries according to their progress in implementation with clarity of strategy and their legal and regulatory status with clarity of a legal framework, and in this way identifies five broad groups of countries.

Countries such as Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK are “dynamic movers,” which have either decided already about a mandatory rollout, or there are major pilot projects that are paving the way for a subsequent decision.
“Market drivers” such as Germany, Czech Republic and Romania have not established legal requirements for a rollout. Nevertheless utilities still go ahead with the installation of smart meters either because of internal synergetic effects or because of customer demands.

Belgium, Austria and Portugal are “ambiguous movers,” with ongoing intensive discussions but without a clear decision being made as yet.

Finally, there are “waverers” and “laggards,” where corresponding initiatives have either just started or where smart metering is not yet an issue. This group includes Poland, Greece and Slovakia, and even in this it is likely that EU legislation will soon result in policy action.

The metering infrastructure is an enabler for related services only, which needs to be coupled with innovative services in order to reach better energy management by means of rewards, automation and information. The SmartRegions project focuses on innovative smart metering services, such as informative billing and feedback, variable tariffs and load control services, that are most promising in supporting energy savings and peak load reduction.

Feedback tools using metering data such as displays or information on mobile devices are already available. A number of utilities also test and operate demand response and direct load control programmes in order to limit the power peak load. The report summarizes trials that are completed or in progress.

Only metering services will provide added value to the consumers. This added value is required for consumers’ support. This support is particularly important because the real advantages of smart metering will and have to be compared with the related costs that will be borne by customers.

A comprehensive overview of the SmartRegions review will appear in the forthcoming March issue of Smart Energy International.