Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- April 4, 2011 - Customers and their main contact point, the energy retailers, have a unique opportunity, technologically as well as economically, to advance the efficient development of the smart grid throughout Europe’s competitive energy markets and major changes in this emerging energy landscape, with new technologies already available or soon expected on the market, will open up new possibilities within the retailer-consumer relationship.

Indeed, if we want smart grid advantages to reach customers, and energy efficiency targets as well as targets for the use of renewable energy source to be achieved, the retailers are essential, and they must be considered as the linking pin between customers, who are at the heart of a smart grid/energy ecosystem.

These are among the conclusions of a new White Paper, “Energy Retailers’ Perspective on the Deployment of Smart Grids in Europe,” from the ETP SmartGrids Working Group 3 on Demand and Metering.

The White Paper finds that the retailer will evolve towards a customer-oriented demand side manager and energy service provider. However, a key challenge for demand side management and other customer-focused programs relates to standardization in the areas of technology and regulation. If the EU is to achieve its targets for energy, regulators and policy makers must ensure that a solid, multi-party regulatory framework is established very quickly, taking the various interests into account.

Major challenges include achieving interoperability and open, technology-independent communication through standardization of interfaces and communication and agreeing on functionalities and common protocols in the area of technology, both infrastructural and applications.

Regulators also should determine the regulatory framework that allows the retailers and other industry participants to develop the detail. They should monitor progress in the deployment of smart meters and smart grids together with customer acceptance and uptake of the new potential. It is important that they give priority to ensuring maximum scope for retail differentiation and innovation in the services to be made available.

To view a summary of the White Paper click HERE