Dublin, Ireland and Belfast, Northern Ireland --- (METERING.COM) --- December 22, 2009 - The establishment of a metering code of practice panel is one of the recommendations for moving the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland towards a common retail tariff structure.

Further the panel should be tasked with considering the specification for time-of-use meters for smaller premises, as an interim to the rollout of smart meters.

The report from Pöyry Energy Consulting comprises the response to a consultation on tariff structures for an all-Ireland market and recommendations emerging from this.

Respondents supported the proposal for the creation of a common code of metering practice across both the Republic’s and Northern Ireland’s regulatory jurisdictions to help in providing a basis of measurement that would facilitate harmonizing retail tariff structures. The common code of practice would reduce costs and facilitate market entry by new parties, as well as create a useful framework for ensuring commonality in the implementation of a smart metering program.

It is axiomatic that the basis of measurement of electricity consumption will dictate the structure of tariffs, says Pöyry in its report. A cross jurisdictional panel to align the metering codes of practice needs to be instigated if further divergence is to be avoided in the development of smart metering policies, time-of-use metering, and prepayment arrangements.

The implicit relationship between wholesale costs in the SEM and time dictates that time-of-use should be a major attribute of any retail tariff structure, Pöyry continues. Hence it follows that time-of-use measurement is an essential, albeit not the only requirement for creating an economically efficient tariff structure. Tariff innovation for those customers who are prepared to change their behavior for their own benefit and that of the system should not be frustrated by the lack of any alternative metering arrangement to those already available or promised when smart metering is eventually introduced. The policy of fitting 4-rate meters in all new and replacement installations in Northern Ireland could be a useful stepping stone to providing an interim arrangement pending the rollout of a smart metering program.