Eamon Ryan,
Ireland's Energy
Minister
 
Dublin, Ireland --- (METERING.COM) --- January 5, 2010 - The electricity customer behavior live trials have been started in Ireland’s national Smart Metering Project, energy minister Eamon Ryan has announced.

Making the announcement minister Ryan said that this was good news. “Not only will smart meters significantly reduce our electricity use, but they will facilitate control of costs for the customer. For the first time, customers will be able to see what they are using, what they are spending and what appliances are the biggest contributors to their overall bills.”

The customer behavior trial is regarded as one of the most important aspects of the project as it will provide insight as to likely future demand, as well as consumer reaction to the new smart electricity meters.

So far meters using three types of technology have been installed in almost 6,400 homes around the country – Elster AS230 meters with GPRS communication, Iskraemeco meters with RF wireless LAN and IT systems from Trilliant, and Sagem meters with power line carrier-based LAN. Over the last six months, customers have used these meters as normal during the collection of data, which will act as a benchmark comparison for the trial.

In the trial, new energy efficiency measures will be introduced. Participants will receive dynamic display units with frequent pricing signals and billing displays, smart web applications where they can check consumption and view detailed information, smart billing with information on costs and use by appliance, and financial incentives to reach electricity reduction targets.

Customer behavior around these measures will be monitored, with the trial continuing through the end of December 2010.

A gas customer behavior trial is also getting underway, involving 1,925 residential consumers, with the benchmarking data collection period started on December 1, 2009 and the trial due to start in May 2010. Approximately 50 small and medium business customers will also be trialed, for which recruitment is expected to be started shortly.

In its last update on the smart meter project the Commission for Energy Regulation reported that progress has continued to be very positive with all key milestones to date having been achieved (see Ireland’s smart metering project on track).

A small prepayment trial is also planned during 2010. The findings from the trials will be presented early in 2011 and the final cost-benefit analysis for smart electricity metering will be completed by the end of Q1 2011, with the gas addendum due by the end of the following quarter.