Howard Porter,
MD, ESMIG
 
Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- October 16, 2009 - The European Union has issued recommendations on smart metering and information and communications technologies (ICT) in the transition to an energy efficient, low carbon economy.

In order to ensure the full coherence of ICT policies with national, local and regional approaches to making the transition to an energy efficient, low carbon economy, the EU recommends among other actions that by the end of 2010 at the latest, member states agree on a common minimum functional specification for smart metering that focuses on providing consumers with improved information on, and improved capabilities to manage, their energy consumption.

Further by the end of 2012 at the latest, member states should set up a coherent timeframe for the rollout of smart metering.

Concerted action by member states to set minimum functional specifications for smart meters would help avoid technical barriers, ensure interoperability and enable the introduction of innovative ICT-based applications for managing energy end-use, says the EU.

In addition applications and services stemming from smart metering and smart grids will likely give rise to new sectors of economic activity, involving actors from both the energy and ICT sectors. The conditions conducive to spawning new markets should be considered alongside pilot schemes and other exploratory initiatives.

Member states should engage all relevant stakeholders in large scale pilots and demonstrations of smart metering and smart grids, to build consensus on the requirements for the emergence of future ICT-enabled innovations.

Partnerships between sectors could accelerate the development and wide-scale rollout of ICT-based solutions for monitoring, managing and measuring energy-use and carbon emissions in energy-using activities, thus helping to provide a reliable basis for energy saving and emissions reducing decisions.

The European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG) has applauded these recommendations, saying that in particular the specific role outlined for smart metering will have a real impact on the drive towards an energy efficient and low carbon future.

“The recommendations emphasizing the role of ICT in energy efficiency are very positive for European consumers in the future,” said ESMIG managing director Howard Porter. He added that ESMIG is working with a number of partners in standardisation, and communications to deliver the right solutions for the utilities and consumers in Europe.

Member states are expected to report actions they have taken in response to these recommendations within a year.