Smart metering trial results released by CER

16 May 2011

The Commission for Energy Regulation has today released the results of its smart metering trials in Ireland, revealing that customers react positively to smart meters, reducing their energy consumption and bills, with smart meter technologies having the potential to provide a net benefit to customers and the country of up to about €174m over the next 15 to 20 years.

Between 2009 and 2010, 9,680 electricity smart meters were in homes and business across Ireland to assess the performance of the smart meters, their impact on customers’ electricity consumption and the economic case for a wider national rollout.

Based on the trials, CER says that smart meters, in combination with time-of-use pricing, in-home display units and initiatives such as smart bills, resulted in an overall reduction of 2.5pc in electricity demand for residential customers, with peak-time usage in particular reduced by 8.8pc on average.

CER says 82pc of residential customers involved in the trail made a change to their electricity use due to smart meters, which give more real-time information about energy consumption.

And in terms of Ireland’s overall electricity usage, it says smart meters should facilitate a reduction in electricity usage and generation, especially at peak times, which will help the country lower its carbon emissions. It says smart meters also allow the network operator to be more efficient, as it’s not be necessary to visit premises to read meters, meaning cost savings should be passed on to consumers.

Smart meter monitor

Smart meter monitor

According to CER, smart meters would provide a net benefit to customers and the country of up to €174m over the next 15 to 20 years, with this estimate taking into account the reduction in customer bills, as well as the overall environmental benefits.

It says there are other possible features of smart meters into the future that are less easy to quantify at this stage, but which may be positive, including the facilitation of more wind generation, the rollout of electric vehicles and ‘smart grids’ and possible synergies with other meters.

In August, CER will launch a consultation on the possible design of a national smart meter rollout programme, with a decision on a national rollout and its design to be made in October.

Energy value chain and smart metering

Welcoming the results of the trial, the Minister for Energy, Pat Rabbitte TD, said: “This comprehensive analysis shows the potential of smart metering technology to deliver real benefits at every point of the energy value chain – from consumers, to energy suppliers, to grid operators. This technology heralds a step change in the way both energy demand and costs can be managed. Improving energy efficiency and keeping energy costs down are key imperatives in our drive to improve competitiveness and support jobs.”

CER also installed 2,100 gas smart meters in homes and business across Ireland, as part of the smart meter pilot trials. The results of the gas smart meter trials will be published by September.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic