Dublin, Ireland --- (METERING.COM) --- July 5, 2012 - Ireland’s national smart metering rollout program is proceeding to the next phase of requirements definition and procurement, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has announced.

This follows the successful completion of the initial phase comprising exploratory trials and cost-benefit analyses.

The CER has decided that electricity and gas smart metering will be rolled out to all residential consumers and a significant proportion of small-to-medium enterprise (SME) consumers, i.e. all those currently in the G4 meter category. The gas smart metering will leverage the electricity smart metering communications infrastructure. (An alternative automatic meter reading solution is proposed for the G10 size meters and larger.)

Further, the CER is mandating for all electricity consumers the rollout of in-home displays, energy usage statements containing detailed consumption and cost information, and time-of-use electricity tariffs.

Prepayment services are also required to be provided as standard for both electricity and gas consumers.

According to the CER’s decision paper, which follows a consultation, the objectives of the smart meter program are to:

  • Encourage energy efficiency
  • Facilitate peak load management
  • Support renewable and micro generation
  • Enhance competition and improve consumer experience
  • Improve network services
  • Review and realize synergies with water metering.

Other topics covered in the decision paper include the high level requirements for the ownership and provision of smart meter data/information, the high level functionality requirements of the smart metering end-to-end solution, and the procurement model for delivery of the technology components of the solution.

This second phase is expected to last for less than 2 years up to 2014. Thereafter the third phase of building and testing will last through 2015, followed by deployment over two to four years between 2015 and 2019.

Ireland’s smart meter rollout will involve about 2.2 million electricity consumers and 600,000 gas consumers with an investment up to €1 billion. It is expected to yield a net benefit of around €229 million over 20 years.

The CER intends shortly to publish an implementation plan and governance structure for the smart metering program.