Arlene Foster,
Energy Minister,
Northern Ireland
 
Belfast, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- August 3, 2012 - Electricity smart meters will be installed in homes in Northern Ireland by 2020, energy minister Arlene Foster announced earlier this week.

Initially the rollout will cover only electricity consumers, as the number of gas consumers (135,000) is too small for gas smart metering to be cost effective. However, by 2015 the number of gas consumers will have increased and the options for gas smart metering will be reviewed again at that time.

“The Northern Ireland Government is serious about changing energy consumption and smart meters are key to shifting consumer behavior,” said Foster. “The (smart meters) will also play a key part in developing a wider smart grid for Northern Ireland in the future.”

According to the smart meter regulatory impact assessment the best case scenario is for smart meters with broadband communication. At a total cost of £221 million with benefits totaling £277.3 million, these would deliver a positive NPV of £56.3 million with total benefits outweighing the costs by approximately 25 percent.

Electricity meters with PLC would cost £244.1 million, to deliver an NPV of £33.2 million and a benefit-cost ratio of 1.14.

Northern Ireland has approximately 860,000 electricity consumers, of which about 7 percent are non domestic.

Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator will consult in due course on the exact nature of the smart meter rollout, minister Foster said in a statement.