In Europe, energy consultancy company DNV GL has won a contract to consult on Ireland's smart meter rollout to 2 million households, an Irish newspaper reported at the weekend.
DNV GL will supply technical consultancy services to the Commission for Energy Regulation, Ireland's independent regulator, which is overseeing the rollout of smart electricity and gas meters by 2020, reports the Irish Independent.
The contract value was undisclosed but a notice posted online awarding the contract to DNV said of the three bids submitted, €824,700 was the highest while €594,000 was the lowest.
A spokesperson for the Irish energy regulator said it awarded the contract on a "draw down" basis to run until late February 2017.
He added: "The maximum requirement for the period of the contract is 450 days, drawn down as required.
"The CER does not guarantee that all 450 days will be drawn down, it will only be drawn as needed and so the final cost [which is] subject to the cap, is currently uncertain."
Smart meters cost-benefit analysis
The CER also plans to run another cost-benefit analysis, which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2016, before giving the €1 billion project the final green light.
The body said that the results will "drive a Go/No-Go Decision on the nature of the rollout of Smart Meters".
The CER spokesman said: "Given the scale of investment required to deliver smart metering, a thorough and robust analysis is required to substantiate any rollout decision. As the project moves through the phases of High Level Design and Detailed Design it is good practice to review costs and benefits."
Consultant PwC carried out an initial cost-benefit analysis, published last year, which found the project could result in a net loss of €54m, although it said the findings should be viewed as "broadly neutral" given the project's scale.
Deployment depends on 'many factors'
The CER, which established the National Smart Metering Programme in late 2007, said the rollout of electricity and gas smart meters is currently scheduled to commence in 2018, though the CER notes that this "depends on many factors".