Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- June 21, 2011 - Europe’s electricity industry association Eurelectric says it supports a distribution system operator (DSO) led rollout of smart meters and smart grids in the region, and invites the European Commission to more explicitly acknowledge this role.

In its response to the European Commission’s recent communication on smart grids, Eurelectric says that while the benefits of smart grids will be spread to the whole society, a large part of the upfront capital expenditures will be borne by the DSOs.

Further, barriers to investments should be removed to put DSOs in a position to invest in smarter grids. Currently, in the vast majority of member states DSOs are constrained by outdated economic regulatory models to follow business as usual approaches and are hampered from investing in innovative solutions, such as smart meters.

Therefore economic regulation at member state level should be revised to incentivize new investments and the implementation of smart grids where it is economically viable, Eurelectric says.

Eurelectric continues that smart grid development is a step-by-step process and that given their complexity and incremental nature, a one-size-fits-all approach to development will not deliver. Smart grids, as an evolutionary process, will develop over time and according to local needs, and smartness levels should not be imposed to DSOs from Brussels.

Member states should do more to develop incentives for smart grid investments.

Eurelectric notes that to push smart grids forward, the two main pre-requisites that must be fulfilled are regulatory incentives for investments in smart grids, together with a sound market model which underpins customer engagement.

A successful implementation of smart grids requires placing customers at the very heart of the new system, says Eurelectric.

Equally, smart grids are a key enabler for achieving the EU’s ambitious energy targets, in particular integrating the renewable energy sources and meeting the energy efficiency targets. They are therefore an instrument to move towards a low carbon society.