Dublin, Ireland --- (METERING.COM) --- December 19, 2012 - Based on work carried out over the past few months, Ireland’s national smart metering program is set to enter the main phase 2 high level design stage early in the new year, according to a new information paper published along with a series of supplementary reports.

This has included the agreement of the program initiation documentation incorporating the program organization, governance and approach, and the development of the associated detailed planning.

According to the information paper, the year-long stage 2 high level design will focus on developing the options and strategy reviews into firm and detailed decision papers that will provide the basis for the procurement of the end-to-end smart metering solution to formally begin. It will also inform the re-running of the cost-benefit analyses (CBAs) in late 2013 to inform a ‘go/no go decision’ prior to the initiation of the formal solution procurement processes.

Assuming a positive decision to proceed, at the start of 2014 the network companies ESB Networks and Bord Gáis Networks will undertake procurement processes to deliver the components of the solution that they are each responsible for. At the same time the required changes to the electricity and gas market systems and processes will be elaborated and processed. In addition initial planning work will be undertaken on the consumer engagement program.

Then subject to a further cost-benefit analysis in late 2014, the program will enter the phase 3 detailed design, system testing and pre-deployment rollout in 2015. The final phase 4 deployment phase will then start in 2016, ramping up the installation activity for completion of the full rollout and continued consumer engagement activities by 2020.

To drive the program an industry representative Smart Metering Steering Group and Smart Metering Work Group have been established, both chaired by the Commission for Energy Regulation, which is also responsible for the final decision making.

Topics covered in the supplementary papers include regulatory policy options for an electricity time-of-use tariff mandate and smart prepayment market model, technical reviews on customer codes and procedures, the assumed technical solution architecture, the electricity wholesale market, the gas market, and retail processes, strategies on security, HAN (home area network) and WAN (wide area network), and options for an industry web portal to deliver metering data to customers.