‘Steady state’ model proposed for Ireland’s smart metering program


Dublin, Ireland — (METERING.COM) — July 25, 2013 – Ireland’s energy regulator the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has proposed what it calls a ‘steady state’ model for the country’s national smart metering rollout.

Under this model:

  • Back office systems perform the majority of data processing and hold ‘master’ versions of key data sets, such as customer account balance
  • Minimal functionality and data is held on the smart meter.

This steady state model, which is introduced in a new consultation, is aimed to offer a cost efficient, appropriately incentivized solution and avoid an over-prescriptive smart metering architecture which may reduce future innovation.

The basis of the model is that suppliers have the primary relationship with the consumer and are best positioned to affect consumer behavior. This includes the provision of consumer web interfaces and the ownership of centralized data repositories, such as consumer account balance.

The networks will act as service providers to the industry of a defined set of smart meter services via the AMI. Eirgrid, the transmission and market services provider, will be the recipient of aggregated actual consumption data to enable network planning and demand side management. There may also be new third party entrants seeking to establish direct relationships with consumers or with the industry stakeholders in order to manage energy consumption behavior.

The key design principles of the steady state model are:

  1. Consumer focused
  2. Consistent and integrated solution, regardless of the type of fuel (i.e. electricity or gas) or consumer product (e.g. credit or prepayment)
  3. Scalable and future proofed
  4. Cost efficient
  5. Irish market nuanced.

Among the key working assumptions is that energy consumption data is recorded at half hourly intervals and provided to suppliers on a daily basis. Further real time consumption data is available in the home provided over the utility-HAN. It is also assumed that the overall smart metering architecture does not carry price or calorific value related information messages, and that this type of data is best transmitted via media channels under supplier control (e.g. supplier led web access to consumers, IVR/call center, alternative in-home device, paper bill, etc.).

Along with the steady state model consultation, CER has also released a consultation on time-of-use tariffs. Key questions include when and how might an individual customer be offered a TOU tariff, and whether TOU tariffs need to be standardized initially. The opportunities for gas TOU tariffs are also questioned.

Both consultations close on September 6. A second steady state model consultation paper will be released in October. A decision on TOU pricing should be made by the end of the year.