Meter-ON is a project financed under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) that aims to foster and support the implementation of smart metering solutions throughout Europe. By providing clear recommendations to stakeholders on how to tackle technical barriers and regulatory hurdles, the project aims to overcome obstacles to the widespread uptake of smart metering technology across the European Union.
Generally speaking, smart metering solutions involve the use of advanced meters and integrated communications systems, they provide the possibility of bi-directional communication between the consumer and the supplier and allow consumers to monitor their consumption and make informed choices. Smart meters are gradually being rolled out across Europe and, by giving households greater control and the ability to moderate their consumption, they will help meet the energy efficiency objectives and climate challenges facing the continent. At the same time, by making the grid more reactive they will facilitate the deeper integration of energy from intermittent sources.
In Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity (also known as the 3rd Electricity Directive), the European Commission instructed Member States to strongly recommend that electricity companies optimize the use of electricity through, inter alia, the introduction of intelligent metering systems or smart grids. The Directive noted that it should be possible to base the introduction of intelligent metering systems on an economic assessment of the long-term costs and benefits to the market and the individual customer. By gathering and disseminating information on a comprehensive set of smart-metering projects set under different geographical, technical, regulatory and economic conditions, the Meter-ON project will contribute to the information required for stakeholders in Member States to make informed decisions, in line with the mandate set down in the EC Directive.
To ensure a coordinated approach, Meter-ON collaborates with other projects and European initiative’s, such as Grid+ - a support action created to provide operational support for the development of the European Electricity Grids Initiative (EEGI)1, and OPENmeter2 - a project funded under FP7 to address knowledge gaps for the adoption of open-standards for smart multi-metering equipment. Meter-ON also collaborates with the Smart Grids European Technology Platform3, with both initiatives sharing their agendas in order to find common interests. In so doing, the project aims to increase its impact and reach a higher number of interested stakeholders.
The Meter-ON Consortium is led by the European Distribution System Operators for Smart-Grids (EDSO for Smart Grids), and brings together 27 leading DSOs and associations throughout the European Union, representing more than 70% of its electricity metering points. In order to achieve the project’s goal of fostering large-scale deployment of smart metering infrastructures, the project is collecting and analysing the most successful experiences in the smart metering field. Based on this analysis, it will exchange information between project stakeholders and produce deliverables that contribute to large-scale deployments.
To date, 22 projects from 10 different countries have been included in the Meter-ON project, providing a highly representative overview of the current stage of development of smart meter implementation in Europe. One of the main Meter-ON objectives is to recommend feasible technological patterns, business models and policy frameworks to foster smart-meter deployment. To this end, a cross-topic analysis has been carried out to identify the most relevant driving forces and barriers influencing the deployment of smart metering projects. The need for a regulatory requirement for smart metering infrastructure was identified as being the main driver for the uptake of a roll-out programme. Other driving forces behind successful roll-out include a reduction in operational costs and in technical and non-technical losses and the possibility of exploiting economies of scale, not only at the meter level, but at the level of ICT systems. Some of the main barriers include the fact that some technical regulation has not kept up to date with current smart meter developments. In addition, legal and regulatory frameworks need to clarify how operating and investment costs will be accommodated in tariffs. On a social level, it was found that some consumer resistance may be encountered due to concerns over data security or concerns that the consumer will have to bear the cost of the smart meter.
Based on this analysis, a number of recommendations have been made for the European Commission to foster the deployment of smart meters in Europe. The recommendations are grouped under five headings: incentives, cost distribution and market model; data flows and privacy issues; dissemination and customer involvement; support of services and applications beyond pure smart metering; and standardisation activities. Among the main recommendations, the project has identified a need for a fair distribution of costs among all agents in the energy sector and the creation of regulatory incentives to promote solutions that further smart grid development. To address the issue of data security, it is recommended that standards be established to manage information flows and that regulation be compatible with data protection and privacy laws, while at the same time noting that it is necessary to strike the right balance between the need to protect data and the need to provide the minimum functionalities.
Meter-ON has an overall budget of EUR 1 884 418, of which a maximum of EUR 1 622 482 will be financed by the European Commission. Launched in July 2012, the 24-month project is set to finish at the end of June 2014. The project’s results will be disseminated among the smart-metering community, involving stakeholders along the entire smart-metering value chain, including distribution system operators, meter operators, meter manufacturers, technology suppliers, system integrators, policymakers and technical bodies. Feedback will be collected from these stakeholders and used to fine-tune the project deliverables, in order to provide a comprehensive guideline for any organization involved in smart metering initiatives.
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