smart gas metering
British Gas to employ 1,000 apprentices for their smart metering programme.

Europe smart gas metersBy 2020, under half of all gas customers in Europe will have a smart meter, according to new research findings from Berg Insight.

The data predicts that 40% of households using gas will be metered using advanced technology with the number of installed units reaching 49 million in eight years time.

The increase in smart gas meter penetration from 2% to 40% “will mainly be driven by nationwide rollouts in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK following positive assessments in their national cost benefits analyses”, states the report.

Mandatory smart gas meters

In early 2015, the Netherlands will become the first European country to reach 1 million gas units installed as the Dutch utilities start the mandatory mass-deployment of smart gas meters.

At the end of 2015, Berg Insight also expects that massive installations will get underway in Italy and France.

Earlier this year, the French national gas distribution network operator GrDF placed orders for a total of 11 million smart gas meters that will be deployed until 2020.

GrDF and several leading gas network operators in Italy intend to use 169 MHz radio technology as the communication platform for their solutions, while smart electricity meters will be used as local communication hubs in the UK and the Netherlands.

UK rollout delay

The predictions seem positive against the backdrop of the UK having to delay its rollout due to the centralised data system not being in place to manage meter data until 2016.

The analysts conclude that as a “consequence of the delay, the official target that the rollout should be completed by 2020 seems unattainable” with the likely mass rollout of smart meters not beginning before 2017.

Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight and author of the report, said: “We are fully convinced that the UK smart metering project will eventually come to its conclusion, but the multitude of challenges arising from such a complex undertaking require considerable time to resolve.

He adds: “If there is one thing that can be learned from a decade of smart metering projects in Europe, it is that they get delayed.”