First area-wide usage of smart meters in Germany


Berthold Bonekamp,
CEO, RWE Energy
Dortmund, Germany — (METERING.COM) — February 21, 2008 – German utility RWE will be equipping 100,000 households in Mülheim an der Ruhr with smart electricity meters, a project which represents the first area-wide deployment of smart meters in the country. Installation will start in the summer.

The new meters will provide customers with more comprehensive and up-to-date information about their energy consumption in future. RWE will be investing some 20 million euros ($29 million) in this pilot project over the next three years.

“With a project of this magnitude, we have the opportunity together with the electricity meter manufacturers to take a decisive step forward in the development of this technology,” explained Berthold Bonekamp, Chief Executive Officer of RWE Energy. “RWE is working on increasing cost transparency for the customer. We are leading the way in this area and want to give the customer a tool with which they can check their energy consumption in order to effectively save on energy and therefore money.”

RWE Energy is pursuing two main objectives with testing the smart meters. The company is increasing cost transparency for customers, thereby strengthening their trust in the energy market, and also addressing the need for energy efficiency. A change in consumption behavior will only occur when customers can directly check the success of their energy saving measures.

The aim of RWE is to develop a smart meter with an open standard which can function with all common billing programs and also integrate gas and water meters. This technology offers the potential for new tariff models that reward and support energy-saving behavior, such as time of day or weekend tariffs.

The city of Mülheim provides an ideal environment for the pilot project. With around 170,000 inhabitants and 100,000 electricity connections, the city is exactly the right size. Through its mixture of densely and less densely built-up areas, it provides the opportunity to test several data transmission technologies simultaneously.

RWE Rhein-Ruhr AG, responsible for the conceptual design and implementation, will be supporting the “100,000 smart meters for Mülheim” project on location through communication. To start with important public buildings such as schools or administrative offices will be equipped with the new devices, which will allow residents to learn about the new technology. The final implementation is the responsibility of the unbundled grid operator RWE Rhein-Ruhr Verteilnetz GmbH.