Dublin, Ireland --- (METERING.COM) --- June 14, 2010 - Ireland’s energy regulator the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has launched the first in a series of consultations that, in tandem with findings from smart metering trials currently underway, is intended to inform the cost-benefit analysis for smart metering in Ireland.

In particular, the aim of this consultation, which covers both electricity and gas smart metering, is to get feedback on possible functional requirements for the rollout.

As a starting point the CER details the key strategic objectives for a smart metering rollout. These are to promote energy efficiency, improve peak load management, support renewable and microgeneration, enhance competition and improve consumer experience, and improve network services.

In order to help to draw out the issues associated with the implementation of smart metering, the CER present three functionality scenarios. The first functionality scenario, which may be deemed necessary to deliver these strategic objectives, while also meeting the requirements of the various European Union (EU) legislative directives, covers the “core” functionality requirements. These are to support remote meter reading, multiple supplier tariffs, profile data and remote operation.

The second scenario adds additional functionality to provide real time communications (one-way and two-way) between an in-home display (IHD), or equivalent device, and smart metering systems.

The third scenario adds to that further functionality to support the concepts of smarter homes and smarter electricity networks through a home area network (HAN).

Key issues up for discussion include:

  • Granularity of data requirement
  • Access to data for suppliers
  • Access to data for customers
  • Data required for billing
  • Data required for prepayments
  • In-home data requirements, including data flows required for web service in the home, one and two way data flows to an in-home device, and data flows required for smarter homes and smart grids
  • Data ownership and security
  • Vulnerable customers.

The consultation closes on July 23, 2010, and will be followed by a further consultation to refine the issues and requirements in October 2010, followed by the completion of the cost-benefit analysis in March 2011. This will bring the first phase of the program to completion. A second development phase of up to two years is proposed, followed by a third phase of up to two years for system design and testing and the rollout of the first block of around 20,000 smart meters. Phase 4 would then ramp up installation activity for full rollout, over a period of two to four years.