Smart meters coming to Ireland


Noel Dempsey,
Minister for
Communications Marine
and Natural Resources
Dublin, Ireland — (METERING.COM) — March 14, 2007 – Ireland’s government will make a decision by the end of 2007 on the roll-out and funding of a national five-year programme to install smart meters for all householders in both new and existing housing stock.

In addition steps will be initiated during 2007, in conjunction with the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) and energy suppliers, to roll-out the provision of real time energy displays for households which have demonstrable potential to reduce energy bills.

These are among actions detailed in the government’s White Paper on Energy, ‘Delivering a sustainable energy future for Ireland’, which was released Monday as an energy policy framework for the period 2007 to 2020.

“Smart meters have demonstrable potential to deliver benefits for energy suppliers and consumers… including more flexible tariffs offering greater choice and energy saving opportunities, remote meter reading resulting in reduced costs and full accuracy and real-time data to inform decisions by providers and consumers alike. Smart meters also facilitate the incorporation of on-site generation at consumer premises, including renewable generation,” says the White Paper.

A pilot smart meter project of 200 houses in the Dundalk Sustainable Energy Zone (approximately mid-way between Dublin and Belfast) is currently under way by SEI and together with a technical and economic review, will inform the rollout, says the White Paper.

These actions form part of the goal of maximizing energy efficiency and conservation, with an achievable target of 20% savings, and an indicative target of a 30% savings, in energy across the electricity, transport and heating sectors by 2020.

The White Paper says demand side management (DSM) initiatives will play a key role in delivering energy efficiency and that a comprehensive, fully costed DSM plan will be finalised by the end of 2007. Measures to be taken include the progressive provision of real-time electricity displays linked to meters in order to provide householders with real-time information on their electricity usage and its cost.

In launching the White Paper, Noel Dempsey, Minister for Communications Marine and Natural Resources, said that it sets out strategic goals for security of supply, sustainability and competitiveness and is strongly action oriented with over 200 separate actions in order to achieve these goals.

Other key actions include the introduction during 2007 of a single electricity market across Ireland and Northern Ireland, and thereafter the progressive development of a regional electricity market with UK and northwest Europe, the development of a 33% contribution of renewables to consumption by 2020, a strengthening of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and EirGrid (the transmission grid operator) as semi-state bodies, and a move to operate the distribution network under a risk related rate of return, with the resultant savings passed on to consumers through lower prices.

Speaking at the launch Dempsey said he is confident that the directions set out in the White Paper provide a cohesive basis on which to positively shape the future of Ireland’s energy sector.

“In 2020, Ireland will be a fully sustainable, secure, efficient, affordable and competitive all island energy market, supporting environmental, economic and social policy objectives.”