The Irish Commission for Energy Regulation announced that Ireland will not begin its National Smart Metering Project in late 2018.The energy regulator said the country will delay its smart meter installation project for gas and electricity consumers due to a delay as a result of the energy regulator and utility firms in reaching an agreement on how the smart meters will be procured.
A spokesperson for the Commission said: “While the CER is continuing to develop the revised timelines on key elements of the programme, it remains clear at this stage that there will be a delay in the roll-out of smart meters to consumers, which was originally planned to commence in 2018.”
Smart meter project planning
Irish utilities including ESB Networks and Gas Networks Ireland are by March 2017 expected to release tenders for the supply of the smart meters. The energy providers were supposed to have issued the tenders by July 2016.
Delays in the issuing of the tenders are related to technical constraints including interoperability of smart meters to be procured with communication technologies and the country’s set smart meter standards.
“Based on this, later in 2017, the CER will conduct a further cost-benefit analysis to determine the final scope, scale and timing of the programme and to ensure the efficiency and benefit to the consumer,” added the CER spokesperson.
According to a local publication, the CER is planning to implement recommendations on the deployment of smart meters set by the EU Commission on Energy in a whitepaper released in December 2016.
The whitepaper notes that countries in the EU are required to equip at least 80% of consumers with smart meters by 2020. [E.ON partners to meet UK smart meter rollout target].
By equipping their customers with the new smart meters, utility firms will help consumers improve their energy efficiency by having unlimited access to their energy usage data which would enable them to identify measures on how they can use energy in a more sustainable manner.
To utilities, smart meters will allow them to increase the reliability of their grid networks through real-time management of energy distribution systems and deployment of programmes such demand response, energy efficiency and demand-side management programmes.