Dublin, Ireland --- (METERING.COM) --- November 12, 2010 - Ireland’s Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has published a second consultation paper on smart metering aimed at eliciting further feedback on possible functional requirements for a national rollout.

This second consultation builds on the responses to an earlier consultation launched in June, and it presents a number of proposals by the CER for adoption as working assumptions relating to the business/data and other requirements for a full smart metering rollout to be used in the cost benefit analysis.

Specifically the consultation covers the following:

  • Objectives of National Smart Metering Program
  • Ownership, display and provision of smart metering information
  • Smart meter functionality
  • Scenarios for smart metering wide area network (WAN) communications technology
  • Scenarios for model for providing and managing smart metering wide area network (WAN) communications technology
  • Scenarios for smart metering home area network (HAN) communications technology
  • High level program implementation timelines.

The CER proposes that data should be recorded on a half-hourly basis for electricity and probably as a minimum daily for gas. A data portal will be provided through which suppliers can access data for their customers, updated daily, on a push and/or pull basis. The same portal could possibly also be used by consumers to access their data, but whether an in-home display will be mandatory will depend on the results of testing.

It is assumed that a single communications infrastructure will be leveraged for both electricity and gas smart metering, and work is on going to investigate the potential synergies with water metering.

The proposed scenarios for the wide area network (WAN) communications technology are: DLC (urban) + RF (rural); DLC (urban) + GPRS (rural); and GPRS (all). For the home area network (HAN) communications technology, the two likely scenarios are two separate HAN communication ports on the electricity meter, or a pre-installed embedded HAN chip plus full HAN communications stack.

The CER proposes a four-phase implementation of which phase 1 of discovery, exploration and business case development is under way currently with completion due by the end of Q1 2011. Phase 2 will comprise planning, requirement definition, procurement and selection over a period of up to 2 years. This will be followed by phase 3, comprising the detailed design, system testing and pre-deployment rollout of around 20,000 meters, before moving into the phase 4 2-4 year full deployment phase. 

The consultation period ends on January 14, 2011. The responses will inform input into the cost benefit analysis for smart metering in Ireland, which will be completed during Q1 2011.