Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- November 26, 2012 - There is a diversity of approaches to meter data management (MDM) across Europe with the most common appearing to have centralized access and decentralized storage, according to a new review from the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER).

This is the case in five of the nine countries reviewed – Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain (for gas), and the Netherlands.

However, two of the cases have a strictly centralized approach with centralized access and storage – Denmark (for electricity, not for gas) and Norway, while Italy is moving to join them from a decentralized approach.

There is also one case where there is a strict decentralized approach, Germany.

The review is intended as a benchmarking of MDM in Europe and reviews the cases in the electric and gas sectors in nine countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, Spain, and the Netherlands.

In this context the “decentralized” approach is where the distribution system operator (DSO) is the database and hub for metering data and as such, is a market facilitator for other stakeholders. In contrast the “centralized” approach is where the MDM is the responsibility of a single actor who manages the storage and/or some processes in the energy market, and/or enables access to data through a central point of communication.

The review notes that many of the participating countries have made choices on the MDM model as a result of smart metering rollouts. The most important factors for supporting and choosing a particular model are cost efficiency, transparency, data security and efficient processes. The rationale for centralized MDM also seems to be strengthened in a smart metering environment because of the increased amount of information exchanged.

There is also a clear understanding in the participating countries that the chosen MDM model needs clear rules regarding data access, privacy and security, while enabling proportionate access to data by authorized parties to ensure that benefits can be delivered.

As such many regulatory changes are occurring. In five of the nine countries new regulation is in place for a new MDM model (Austria, Denmark, GB, Italy, Norway).

CEER says in the review that it considers that efficient and secure information and data access for relevant stakeholders is fundamental for a proper retail market functioning and customer protection and empowerment. However, at this stage it is not intended to suggest a specific MDM model, and indeed different countries might require different MDM models on the basis of their market design specificities.

On the basis of further work to ensure that smart metering benefits consumers as intended, in 2013 CEER will develop advice on retail market data management for better retail market functioning.