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Leading the industry towards smart metering

BEAMA is proud to announce the launch of the European Smart Metering Alliance (ESMA). The Alliance is a project that aims to define and spread best practice in smart metering across all European member states.

The project is part funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme and seeks to maximise the environmental benefits of Article 13 of the Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (ESD). The ESD has to be implemented in 2008 by all European member states and requires customers to be given more information on their energy usage and more timely billing.

Project background

Smart metering is a complex proposition that brings together increased customer information with Automated Meter Reading and Management. Smart metering can enable the utility sector to upgrade its systems and equipment and offer better customer service, whilst at the same time delivering substantial energy savings to the European Community. There is considerable interest in smart metering across Europe but implementing it is not without its challenges.

For instance, in the UK, with competition in all parts of the business the issues of stranded assets and interoperability must be resolved before the industry can move ahead. Also, the UK government is uncertain of the savings to be gained from enhanced customer usage feedback and is currently conducting trials to determine this. Until there is general agreement on potential energy savings and best practice, it will be very difficult for any utility to carry out a full cost benefit analysis for smart metering.

BEAMA has been working with other stakeholders over the last two years to address these issues and has now been awarded €0.65 million project funding from the IEE programme to establish ESMA. The project began on 1 December 2006 and runs for 3 years. The 14 project participants come from 11 countries.

The objective of the project is to produce a number of major reports on smart metering and to develop a Smart Metering Application Guide. In addition, and possibly more importantly, the Alliance aims to bring together all stakeholders in a forum where they can debate all the issues and reach consensus on industry solutions.

Stakeholder engagement

To allow the project to represent all the stakeholders in the industry the Alliance is currently open for membership. Alliance membership will allow organisations to steer the direction of Alliance projects, receive e-mail updates on reports and events, and become involved in the Alliance Council, established to allow senior representation to ensure that the project outputs truly reflect industry views. As well as industry, stakeholders will include European energy regulators, consumer bodies, energy agencies and academics. All of the project reports and the Application Guide will be freely available to members of the Alliance.

Details of membership with an application form can be obtained by emailing esma@beama.org.uk