Eamon Ryan,
Energy Minister
of Ireland
 
Dublin, Ireland --- (METERING.COM) --- November 6, 2007 - A five-year national program to install smart meters in every home in Ireland will begin in 2008, with the installation of 25,000 meters in the first phase, Ireland’s energy minister Eamon Ryan announced yesterday.

“I have long called for a national smart metering program,” said Ryan. “The commitment is in the Program for Government and I am delighted to announce its implementation.”

The program will be coordinated by the country’s energy regulator, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). In an accompanying information paper, the CER says that the Irish retail electricity market can exploit its unified approach in the provision of meters and the processing of metered data to devise an optimal functionality for a smart metering implementation program, and that it will work with ESB Networks, suppliers and other stakeholders in structuring and implementing the rollout of an optimally designed universal smart metering program that will embrace all aspects of smart metering relevant to the Irish electricity market.

To this end steering and working groups are being established by the CER before the end of November, and the first smart meters are expected to be installed by ESB Networks, Ireland’s network owner and operator, during April 2008.

The decision follows a consultation launched by the CER in March, following the release of the Irish government’s energy White Paper, which mandated an investigation of smart meters towards achieving the European Union energy efficiency and conservation targets.

The steering group, which will guide the progress of the project, will comprise the CER, ESB Networks, the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources and Sustainable Energy Ireland. The working group, operating under the direction of the steering group, will include representatives from these organisations as well as ESB Customer Supply and independent suppliers, Bord Gáis Network Metering, customer groups and microgeneration representatives.

The working group will undertake specific investigations and studies into all aspects associated with the technology, technical feasibility, supporting systems and customer behavior, in order to justify the appropriate approach to adopt. The scope of these studies will cover functionality associated with the design and operation of the metering and the collection of the data, the management of networks, the activities of the supply businesses, and the provision of information to customers and their likely response; especially in the context of improved energy efficiency.

In order to meet ESB Network’s program target, the working group will be required to produce its initial views on these applications by the start of March 2008.