EU Smart meter news

The European Commission has downgraded its target for a pan-European Union rollout of electricity smart meters from 80 per cent deployment to 72 per cent as just over half the member states are committed to meeting the 2020 deadline.

According to a Commission report, Benchmarking smart metering deployment in the EU-27 with a focus on electricity, only 16 of the EU's nations are aiming to meet the Third Energy Package energy efficiency targets, including Britain, France, Netherlands and Sweden but not Germany.

Based on this latest data, the report stated that a 72 per cent penetration of electricity smart meters was achievable.

In seven member states, including much of Eastern Europe, the cost-benefit analysis for large-scale rollouts by 2020 were found to be negative or inconclusive, but in Germany, Latvia and Slovakia smart metering was found to be economically justified for particular groups of customers.

The introduction of smart meters into Europe has been held back by debate over who will pay for them - the utilities or the consumers - as well as by opposition from some consumer groups.

There is also the issue over whether smart meters are delivering the right kind of real-time data on consumption.

In only eight of the 16 states are the smart meters being deployed fully in line with EU recommendations on functionality.

Smart gas meters

EU law does not set any specific target for smart meters for gas, although it refers to a "reasonable period of time".

Just five member states have decided to roll out smart meters for gas by 2020 or earlier.

Five member states – Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK - have decided to roll-out smart meters by 2020 or earlier, while France and Austria have plans to proceed with a large-scale roll-out but have yet to take official decisions.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Smart meters are neither necessary nor sufficient to bring about effective demand management. Who will be more effective at controlling peak demand – UK or Germany? We need a massive public information programme on the benefits of time-of-use shifting. We recycle altruistically, why not use electricity rationally?

  2. The issue with many smart metering deployments is that they don’t have a clear view of what the benefits are. In most countries the only obvious benefit is for the utility in the form of easier billing and disconnects. However, limiting smart meters to those use cases doesn’t meet the EU requirement of being financially viable, as Germany and others have discovered. Elsewhere, and here the UK is probably the extreme example, civil servants have inflated the assumed value of customer savings to try and make the net benefit of deployment positive. That then gets conflated into demand response to smooth peaks. The recent Dutch report on energy savings shows conclusion to be false. However, demand response programs developed for aircon in places like Texas and Arizona are still assumed to be valid for reducing UK demand during commercial breaks in evening TV soaps. It’s difficult to understand how anyone believes that.

    The market (as opposed to DECC staff) has realised that smart thermostats and selling the concept of comfort to consumers is a more effective and acceptable way of changing consumer energy behaviour. Products like the Nest and Hive are using current technology to address the problem without the need for a smart meter. I stress current technology – most smart meter deployments are based on outdated technology. As deployment dates slip it becomes ever more likely that consumers will end up paying for obsolete technology that gives them no benefit.