New horizons for smart metering in Western Europe

Gothenburg, Sweden — (METERING.COM) — August 11, 2010 – The installed base of smart electricity meters in Europe is expected to reach 111.4 million by 2015, growing at a rate of approximately 18 percent per year, according to the new report “Smart Metering in Western Europe” from Berg Insight.

Smart electricity meters are being introduced all over the developed world, but Europe had an early start in the 2000s when Enel completed the first nationwide rollout of smart meters to more than 30 million customers in Italy. Later deployments followed in the Nordic countries and at the beginning of the 2010s, Spain, France and the U.K. are assuming the positions as the most active markets.

The adoption of smart metering in Europe is to a large extent driven by regulations. A majority of the countries in Western Europe have adopted policies of regulation driven introduction of smart meters, which is also supported by EU legislation such as the 3rd Energy Package.

Sweden was first, followed by the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, France, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and Finland. In addition there are informal commitments to smart meters in Portugal and Malta through projects launched by government controlled national utilities. Germany on the other hand has only implemented some weaker regulatory drivers and the federal government has declared that it has no intentions to push for a quick nationwide rollout.

Iberia will become the next focal point for smart metering in Europe. Following a build-up phase in 2010, massive installations will take off in Spain during 2011, as the two leading market players Endesa and Iberdrola go ahead with full scale rollouts. Gas Natural Fenosa is expected to follow close behind, potentially deploying smart metering solutions for both electricity and gas customers. Furthermore EDP plans a nationwide rollout in Portugal that can be coordinated with the mandatory deployment by its distribution network subsidiary in Spain. Berg Insight forecasts that annual shipments of smart electricity meters in Iberia will peak at around 6 million units per year during 2014–15 before the market gradually slows down in the final years before the installation deadline in 2018.

France and the U.K. became active markets in 2010 as ERDF and British Gas entered the initial phases of their smart meter installation programs. ERDF plans to start with a massive nationwide rollout from 2012 and will need to deploy around 6 million units per year between 2014 and 2017 in order to fulfill the regulatory obligations that will take effect in 2018. The U.K. market is anticipated to follow a slower more protracted trajectory towards full penetration in 2020. There is a good possibility that other players will follow the example of British Gas and exclusively install smart or “smart ready” electricity meters in the next few years. But since the full technical specifications have not yet been agreed, there will probably not be any wholesale replacement schemes in the immediate future.

For more information and to order the report “Smart Metering in Western Europe,” click HERE.