Shaping the future of smart metering: The European smart meter project

By Nicolas Arcauz Eguren, Gyozo Kmethy, Gisele Widdershoven

The OPEN meter project is a European collaborative project within the 7th Framework Programme, aiming to develop a set of coherent, open standards for smart metering / AMI. It unites 19 major players, utilities, meter manufacturers, research institutes and standardisation organisations. It takes a holistic approach – analysing the market requirements and regulatory issues, evaluating current and emerging technologies and standards, identifying and filling knowledge gaps, testing the solutions developed and drafting the necessary standards. The new standard suite will be accepted and supported by all members, and by ensuring interoperability, it should remove barriers in large-scale deployment of smart metering systems and building an Advanced Metering Infrastructure. The OPEN meter project is coordinated by IBERDROLA.

The development of a Europe-wide Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is seen as an essential tool helping to achieve important objectives set by the European Union. These objectives include improving energy efficiency, integrating renewable energy sources thereby improving security of supply, decreasing the dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the environment. Fostering the operation of the energy markets, providing better service to energy end-users and creating new knowledge-based industries are other important objectives.

Although several open standards are already available and systems based on these standards have been successfully implemented, the lack of a comprehensive set of open standards covering all utility commodities, all AMI requirements and all communication media is still perceived as an important barrier to a wide scale adoption of smart metering and building the European AMI.

The project should remove this barrier by developing the missing standards. Participation of key players in this process and involvement of all stakeholders will ensure the necessary buy-in.

The OPEN meter project – OPEN stands for Open Public Extended Network – will use a grant from the European Community within the Seventh Framework Programme, Area 7/1: Smart Energy Networks / Interactive distribution energy networks, Topic 7/1/1: Open-Access Standard for Smart Multi- Metering Services. It is a Collaborative Project (CP), with a predominant research component.

The project kick-off meeting was held on 4 February 2009 in Madrid, hosted by IBERDROLA. It will be completed in 30 months, by June 2011. In total, 339 person-months of resources have been committed by the participants.

The project budget is €4 million (US$5.1 million), of which 60% is a grant provided by the EU. The project unites worldwide leading electricity, water, gas and heat meter manufacturers, alongside with some of the largest multi-utilities in Europe, as well as research institutes, universities and standardisation organisations. With this, the support of the major players in the area is ensured.

The participants of the OPEN meter consortium are: Iberdrola – Actaris – Advanced Digital Design – CESIRicerca – Current Technologies International – DLMS User Association – Electricité de France – Elster – ENDESA – ENEL – KEMA – Landis+Gyr – Netbeheer Netherlands – RWE – ST Microelectronics – University of Karlsruhe – USYSCOM – ZIV Medida – CENELEC.

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Group of participants at the kick-off meeting in Madrid.

The Scope of the project is to address knowledge gaps for the adoption of open standards for smart metering, covering electricity, gas, heat and other commodities. All relevant aspects – regulatory environments, functional requirements, communication media, protocols, and data formats – are considered.

The OPEN meter project will take advantage of the existing International and European standards, technologies and solutions, adapting them to the specific needs of AMI wherever possible, and carrying out the research and technological development activities where necessary. This will minimize the time needed for the adoption of the standards while ensuring the cost-effectiveness of the solution. Some existing standards have already been identified as potentially suitable for the purposes of the project. Other applicable solutions are also studied. It is foreseen that one or more innovative technologies will be developed during the project.

The result of the project will be a new suite of coherent standards, supporting smart metering / AMI that will be fed into the European and International standardisation process.

During the whole project, strong relationships will be kept by the identified group of stakeholders, including the European Commission, governments of the EU members, associations of the energy regulators like CEER / ERGEG, utility associations like Eurelectric, Eurogas, the Electricity Retail Association (ERA), manufacturer associations like ESMIG, the European Standardization Organizations CEN – CENELEC – ETSI, and associations of energy end users.

The project will be strongly coordinated with the smart metering standardisation mandate M/441 given by the European Commission to the European Standardization Organizations, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.

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EU definition of open standards.


“OPEN” is not only a key word, but it is also a key criterion and objective of the project as only open, inter- national standards can guaran- tee the required level of inter- operability, ensure competition, and keep investment and operation costs down.

This means two things: 

  • Only open standards are eligible for selection for the purposes of the project; 
  • The result of the project will also be a suite of open standards.

Six Working Packages have been defined:

Working Package 1: Functional requirements & regulatory issues: This WP is led by ENDESA. It addresses the regulatory issues concerning AMI / Smart metering in the various European countries and it will identify the requirements of the various stakeholders, taking into account the conditions prevailing in the various countries of the EU.

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Working Packages of the OPEN meter project.

Working Package 2: Identification of knowledge and technology gaps: This WP is led by Current Technologies International. It reviews the state-of-the-art of the various technologies available, including protocols for wired, power line carrier and wireless communication media, as well as application data models and system architectures. The technologies most suitable for the purposes of AMI will be selected. WP 2 will also identify research needs to fill knowledge gaps.

Working Package 3: Pre-normative research activities: This WP is led by Iberdrola. Building on the results of WP1 and WP 2, this WP will carry out the necessary research and development activities, to ensure that the requirements of AMI / smart metering will be met in a cost effective manner. Working

Package 4: Testing: This WP is led by KEMA. In this WP, test approaches and procedures for laboratory, compliance and field tests will be developed, and actual tests will be carried out on newly developed system elements.

Working Package 5: Specification and proposal of a standard: This WP is led by Landis+Gyr. It will consolidate the results of the previous working packages and will provide a formal specification of the standard. The results will be submitted to the relevant European and International Standardization Organizations.

Working Package 6: Dissemination: This WP is led by the DLMS User Association, together with KEMA and Iberdrola. It will specify how the results of the project – the Foreground – will be used and disseminated to all stakeholders, utilities, manufacturers, energy market participants and end users. The current presentation is part of the dissemination activities.

The OPEN meter project is a major European undertaking. Involving the largest global utilities, meter manufacturers, research facilities and standardisation organisations ensures a comprehensive and consistent approach to the development of a coherent set of standards for AMI / smart metering. It will remove the perceived barriers to a wide scale adoption of smart metering, and open the way to a Europe-wide Advanced Metering Infrastructure, a key element of future smart grids.

The direct participation of many of the key players and involvement of many stakeholders in the project will ensure the buy-in to the results of the project. We will continuously provide information on the project via a range of fora, including Smart Energy International and the Metering conferences. Stay tuned!