John Parsons,
ESMA project
London, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- August 11, 2008 - A European Smart Metering Guide bringing together the lessons learnt from smart metering systems and trials focusing on the promotion of end use energy efficiency, has been published by the European Smart Metering Alliance (ESMA).

The Guide, one of the key deliverables of the Alliance, is intended to assist utilities, service providers and other groups considering and/or implementing smart metering (partly) for this purpose and to maximize the benefits arising from those implementations.

Europe faces daunting challenges in reducing its energy consumption and mitigating the impact of climate change. Through the Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (ESD), the European Commission has set requirements for EU member states for the provision of energy consumption information to final customers from their meters, driving smart metering and energy efficiency.

Smart metering has already been installed in Italy and parts of Sweden and Finland, and schemes are currently being developed in many other countries across Europe, including the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Irish Republic, Norway, and Denmark.

Trials of smart metering, while very varied in their approach to the customer, the feedback message and the route, suggest that customers can save between 5 and 10 percent of their energy consumption when provided with information on their usage. Moreover they indicate that customers should directly be able to see what is happening to consumption without having to switch on an optional feedback service. Feedback also should focus on wasted energy consumption rather than on necessary energy consumption, and should include other, more concrete and relevant information than kWh savings, such as financial and/or CO2 savings.

Among the key messages from the Guide is that the concerns of customers must be anticipated and catered for, and their data must be secure and not be used for purposes of which they disapprove.

In the case of multi-utility smart metering, while this offers more energy savings and lower overall metering costs, it will require careful system design if energy (and water) retailers are to share the system in a competitive market.

Smart metering can be a key enabler for a number of important market developments, such as renewables and distributed generation, demand response, smart homes and smart grids. However, it is vital to understand their requirements (such as data items and communications volume and speed) and embed support for them now as smart metering systems are implemented.

It is also clear that the widespread and effective adoption of smart metering is going to need clear and sustained support from governments and regulators, and the development of a full suite of standards to provide interoperability across Europe.

ESMA is an alliance of companies and organizations for the advancement of smart metering in Europe and is being coordinated by John Parsons at BEAMA.

For more on the European Smart Metering Guide and other aspects of ESMA’s activities see the feature “A European smart metering guide - energy efficiency and the customer” by John Parsons in the forthcoming Metering International issue 3/2008.