Assessment for the launch of a smart metering project: Illustration with the French business case



Many countries have started shifting from the existing population of low-voltage power meters to a generalized remote reading or remote management system. These initiatives are aimed at deploying meters with extended functions, in particular: remote transmission of the index, remote transmission of the interval data, remote disconnect and changes of authorized maximum power.

In addition, the latest EU texts invite the member states to adopt more flexible tools that will make it possible to:

  • Evolve to real-time demand side management,
  • Provide users with information about the precise time at which energy is consumed,
  • Provide users with bills based on actual consumption.

This Point of View is based on a project which was achieved in collaboration with the French energy regulatory authority (CRE). It provides information on key elements of comparison for seven smart metering experiments carried out worldwide. Furthermore, it gives insight into the various technologies that should be considered and suggests approaches for the development of a business case for the global deployment of a telemetering solution.

For a clear understanding of the different smart metering solutions, a few definitions should be set out. Two levels of smart metering devices can be distinguished:

  • Automated Meter Reading (AMR) is automated telemetering. The device allows the uploading of information from the meter to the operator of the metering solution.
  • Automated Meter Management (AMM) is AMR plus complementary services. It involves automation of manual technical services in connection with metering (activation, change of authorized power, etc.). The device allows twoway communication between the meter and the operator of the metering solution.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is not comparable to AMR and AMM. It designates the set of advanced metering components and technical architecture that allow AMM operation.