Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- April 11, 2013 - Smart meter spending in the Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) region will reach $10.3 billion cumulatively by 2023, with almost all electric utilities completing full smart meter deployments over that time period, according to a new study from Northeast Group, LLC.

The study, which reviews the growth of smart metering in ten CEE countries over the next decade, finds that fewer than half of these countries have completed their smart metering cost-benefit analyses, which were required by September 2012. Furthermore most of the countries have not yet officially transposed EU regulations into their national legislation, although they claim they intend to meet the EU timelines.

As a result, the study states some CEE countries may miss the EU 2020 deadline, but almost all CEE countries will have a nearly full deployment of smart meters by the end of the forecast period in 2023.

Among the CEE countries with plans in place, Estonia plans to deploy smart meters to 100% of its customers by 2017, while utilities in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia also have plans for full smart meter rollouts.

The study also notes that in countries where cost-benefit analyses have been conducted, the result has almost always been positive. This is attributed in part to the electricity prices, which are among the highest in the world, so customers can benefit from having greater control over their electricity consumption. Further, distribution loss rates are much higher and the duration of power outages are much longer compared with Western Europe, so utilities stand to gain from metering upgrades.

Once more of these analyses are completed, the EU mandate will begin compelling stronger regulatory action at the national level. This is expected within the next year or two.

The 10 countries reviewed include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.