Smart meter woes hold back digitalisation of EU power sector

(EurActiv, 29 Jan 2019) Electric cars and rooftop solar panels are expected to hit mass markets in the coming years, all requiring smart meters installed in people’s homes. But EU countries are slow at deploying them and industry voices are now calling on EU regulators to step in.

Smart meters are considered essential for the digitalisation of the electricity sector, allowing households to control their consumption and take part in the energy market, notably via electric cars or home batteries.

“Smart metering is really important because it is the first step to get consumer engagement,” said Joao Torres, the CEO of EDP Distribution, the Portuguese distribution system operator.

“You need smart metering – that’s the basis,” added Knud Pedersen from Danish energy company Ørsted. “We need to send signals to consumers. And we can do that because we have smart meters,” he told a conference organised by Eurelectric, the EU power industry association.

Pedersen can speak confidently about smart meters. His home country, Denmark, is among the leaders in Europe, with a penetration rate of nearly 80%. With a 100% penetration, Sweden is the uncontested EU trailblazer, followed by Finland (99%), Estonia (98.2%) and Spain (91.27%).

But the rest of Europe can’t be so buoyant. Germany, for one, has decided not to have a national smart meter roll-out plan at all, running against EU requirements. Others like Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece and Ireland also decided against them.

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EurActiv, 29 Jan 2019: Smart meter woes hold back digitalisation of EU power sector