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The European Smart Metering Alliance (ESMA) began operations in January 2007. The objective of ESMA is to maximise the energy efficiency benefits arising from the implementation of smart metering across Europe and to support the aims of Article 13 of the Energy Services Directive. The focus is strongly on how to use smart metering to support a change in customer behaviour. An early task is to catalogue the evidence from smart metering trials and to provide a common understanding of how much reduction in energy demand can be achieved and the main factors that influence this.

The project is now well under way and the project team is hard at work producing a series of reports on the current state of smart metering across Europe and the regulatory and commercial environment around it. Once this is complete the project team will begin work on producing an Application Guide that sets out best practice as identified in the first phase of the project. A generic financial toolkit is also being developed that can be used to assess the costs and benefits of smart metering schemes. The primary objective of this is to establish the full range of costs and benefits that can be included in such analyses and how they can be modelled.

WEBSITE
The Alliance now has over 50 members from all stakeholder groups and is growing steadily. A web site has been established (www.esma-home.eu) with a members’ area in which draft reports are placed. Members are able to view the draft reports and comment on them direct to the project team. Ideally, the aim is to arrive at a consensus view but, where this is unachievable, the reports will set out an inclusive statement on each topic, capturing the opinions of all stakeholders. Once finalised, the reports will be available for members to download. If you want to get involved and join the Alliance visit the website for details.

PROJECT OUTPUTS
Another valuable output for members is a concise table on the web site setting out the status of smart metering in each European member state. The project team is capturing the latest news from across Europe, tracking new trials and their results, announcements from regulators and governments on their implementations of Article 13 and any major rollouts of smart metering. An annual report will be produced summarising this information.

Linked to the members’ web site is a public web site. This explains what smart metering is, how it benefits the general public and attempts to counter the misconceptions that are prevalent around the topic. Case studies will be stored here for the public.

AGM
The Alliance will hold its first annual meeting at Metering, Billing/CRM Europe 2007 in Vienna, Austria in October.