Brazil’s regulator opts for ‘consumer led’ smart meter rollout


Brasilia, Brazil — (METERING.COM) — August 13, 2012 – Brazil’s National Agency of Electrical Energy (Aneel) has voted for a non mandatory rollout of smart metering, in which the meters will be installed on request from consumers.

Under the new regulation suppliers are required to offer consumers smart meters within 18 months. Two types of meters will be offered. One of them, to be installed at no cost, will be provided to consumers who choose the time-of-use “white” tariff. The other more complete model will also provide access to individual usage information and installation may be charged by the distributor.

According to a statement from Aneel, the agency anticipates that the regulation will bring a number of benefits to consumers, including creating the conditions for the spread of microgeneration, more efficient use of energy, the possibility of remote services and improved network monitoring by utilities, the reduction of technical and non technical losses, and the offer of new services to consumers.

“Electronic electricity meters are an important step for the deployment of smart grids in Brazil,” said Pepitone André da Nobrega, director of the project in Aneel. “The underlying factors for smart grids in Brazil are the need to improve quality of service in low voltage, as well as to reduce losses in the power supply and operating costs.”

The regulation for smart metering has been under discussion and subject to public consultation since October 2010.

Brazilian power distributors will install about $670 million of smart meters a year from 2014 after the electricity regulator mandated the technology for all new installations.

Utilities will install about 4.5 million of the power gauges from 2014 to at least 2017, Maria Gabriela da Rocha Oliveira, a Sao Paulo-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said today in a telephone interview. Smart-meter makers expected the government to force utilities to substitute all 65 million of the nation’s meters with smart ones by 2020, New Energy Finance said in a report yesterday.

The requirement only applies to new installations, excluding low-income households, and some clients that request a replacement as of February 2014. So-called smart meters allow utilities to monitor clients’ power consumption remotely.

“It would have been better if it was mandatory to replace all meters,” Oliveira said. “This is a step in the right direction though” because the equipment will allow Brazilians to install solar panels and trade power back to the grid.

Businesses and homeowners with smart meters will also be able to adopt a new pricing mechanism for power which offers three tariffs that vary depending on national electricity demand, according to the report.

Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica approved the new rules on Aug. 7, the Brasilia-based electricity regulator said on its website.