Smart electricity will be standard in Europe in five years

26 Aug 2008

Smart electricity meters that will allow households to receive bills based on actual consumption will be available in one in three homes in Europe by 2013, new research suggests.

According to analyst firm Berg Insight, the installed base of smart electricity meters in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.6pc between 2008 and 2013 to reach 81.2 million.

This will mean that one in three households will receive electricity bills based on their actual consumption and gain immediate financial benefits from energy savings.

“Smart meters make a real difference in the energy sector,” said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight.

“Consumers gain control over surging energy costs, governments get chance to promote energy conservation and the energy industry players are able to become more efficient.”

After massive rollouts in Italy and the Nordic countries, the turn has now come to France, Spain and the Netherlands to receive smart electricity meters.

Berg Insight expects that new installations will reach a rate of 11 million units annually in these countries by 2013.

The prospects for Germany and the UK are more uncertain, according to Ryberg.

“Germany did not go all the way with the recent Energy and Climate Act. An unclear regulatory framework and uncertainty about the future threaten to further delay adoption of smart metering in the country,” he said.

When it comes to the UK, Ryberg is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for favourable legislation.

“If the British government is honest about its commitment to reducing carbon emissions it really has no other alternative than to push ahead with smart metering for all energy customers,” he said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years