Smart meters – the most awaited blockbuster of 2012

London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — June 10, 2009 – Drawing a parallel to Hollywood, the European smart meter market is in its phase of post production, with last minute changes and edits, according to Frost & Sullivan research analyst Vikas Ravindram.

“Once issues such as interoperability and communication are sorted out, it is just another blockbuster waiting for its big opening night,” says Ravindram.

Writing in an industry insight Ravindram argues that the market for smart meters in Europe although nascent is expected to be more of a “push” market, primarily driven by legislations – the liberalization of the energy market in 2007 along with the evolution of favorable regulatory frameworks.

With the legislations in place (the two main initiatives being the Metering Directive adopted in 2004 and the Energy Services Directive adopted in 2006) the next logical step is their effective implementation and ensuring a smooth transition from the legacy meters to the new smart ones. However, this has not happened as expected in Europe, Ravindram writes. The Energy Services Directive which was to be transposed into a law by 2008 has not taken place yet. In addition, the industry’s main restraint is interoperability, as there hasn’t been a concrete solution to this issue, although most utilities are now agreeing with the fact that certain standards must be set in place for the smart meter market.

Time-of-use (TOU), although very useful is not being seen by the utilities as a value add. They are hesitant to adopt this concept as this in turn is expected to incur revenue losses for the utilities. Related to this is the absence of compliant appliances, thus, making TOU depend on other industries as well.

Ravindram also notes that associations like the European Smart Meter Industry Group (ESMIG) and European Smart Metering Alliance (ESMA) have been actively involved in the roll out of smart metering technology across Europe by publishing case studies and reports on the level of energy savings that would be achieved by smart metering and also by presenting reports to the European Commission on the progress and benefits that arise from the use of smart meters.

Suggesting that it would be inappropriate if Hollywood was not given credit for most of the breakthroughs that have happened over the last sixty years in the field of science and technology, Ravindram writes the world has seen an influx of technological facts derived from fiction and it was just a matter of time when the effect of this technological insurgence would eventually cascade into the electricity industry.

“On one hand we have newer and cleaner ways of generating power namely solar, wind and fuel cells, paving the way for distributed generation and on the other hand we have the science to monitor their transmission and distribution, namely with smart grids and smart meters. Although still in the nascent phase, it is technological advancement such as these which will ultimately lend a hand in not only ensuring an optimal and in-exhaustive but also a clean and environment friendly power solution.”