Thursday, 30 August 2012

Smart meters

Managing energy consumption in Europe is one of the issues that European Commission is busy with. (Cities getting smart) Since households are responsible for 40% of total energy consumption, educating consumers on smart energy consumption and changing their energy consumption habits plays a significant role in energy policy. One way to change these habits is by installing smart meters in all/most households in Europe. (Smart Grids) What are smart meters?

"Smart meters display household's energy consumption in real-time, giving users the possibility to monitor fluctuations in their energy consumption both locally and remotely – through wireless systems, the internet and smart phones." (Consumers unaware of smart meters ahead of EU-wide roll-out)

The European Commission requires the Member States to submit by 3 September 2012, their cost-benefit analysis on the deployment of smart meters. (Commission recommendation of 9 March 2012) If the analysis is positive, then the Member States should roll-out smart meters to consumers, while European Commission would set European standards on them. By 2020 at least 80% of consumers should be equipped with intelligent metering system.

At this point it seems that consumers are mostly unaware of smart meters. (Research in the UK) Representatives of consumers expressed their doubts as to the benefits of using smart meters for all consumers, since in low-income households the energy consumption is often not able to be further reduced. Therefore, the BEUC does not believe that the use of smart meters should be mandatory. (Empowering consumers through smart metering) Also the EDPS had some issues with the potential infringement of data protection regulations by the use of smart meters. (EDPS' opinion)

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