A smart meter is an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy and communicates the information to the electricity supplier for monitoring and billing. Smart meters typically record energy hourly or more frequently, and report at least daily.Smart Metering offers consumers, suppliers, network operators, generators and regulators a wide range of useful tools and services enabling ultimately a smarter energy world.Smart metering also benefits utilities by improving customer satisfaction with faster interaction, while giving consumers more control of their energy usage to save money and reduce carbon emissions. With power visibility all the way to the meter, utilities can optimize energy distribution and even take action to shift demand loads.

Smart metering helps utilities to:

  • Reduce operating expenses by managing manual operations remotely

  • Improve forecasting and streamline power-consumption

  • Improve customer service through profiling and segmentation

  • Reduce energy theft 

  • Simplify micro-generation monitoring and track renewable power 

In addition Smart Meters can enable an array of new smart services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers to better manage their energy usage patterns, reduce overall power consumption and even benefit from new pricing models.

What is a Smart Meter?

Smart Metering technologies consist of several different technical components which may vary according to the specific market conditions in different Member States, but the majority include the following features:

  1. Accurate measurement and transmission of electricity, gas, water or heat consumption data

  2. Provision of  a two-way information gateway and communication infrastructure between the meters and relevant parties and their systems, for:

  • raising awareness and empowering the consumer through delivery of actual consumption data

  • improving Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and services, including automated billing/invoicing based on detailed metering data

  • managing energy networks/grids better by shifting or reducing energy consumption, e.g.  through Demand Side Management (DSM)

  • enabling new energy services for improving energy-efficiency

  • encouraging decentralised, micro-generation of energy, thus transforming the consumer into a energy producer (“Prosumer”).

What makes it "smart"?

Smart Metering systems feature a number of innovations: digital technology, communications, control and better operation of networks. Smart Metering technologies will change the way that metering works completely. They provide customers with much more information on how they use energy and enable those customers to reduce their usage.  

What are the benefits of using smart meters?

For consumers

  • consumers can be informed remotely (historical data) or locally (real-time data) on energy costs and carbon emissions

  • energy consumption of household gas, electrical and water equipment can be displayed on the appliance or on displays

  • multi tariff functions can be added to allow demand response techniques

  • allows electrical appliances to be automatically controlled 

  • allows the consumer to reduce costs by increasing energy consumption during off-peak cheaper tariff periods.

For utilities

  • gain first-class data

  • influence the energy consumption of their users

  • improve profitability of the technology once Smart Metering is also used for gas, water and heat readings.

  •  a reduction in ‘costs to serve’

  •  open gateways for the delivery of energy services

  • assistance in the development of liberalised energy market

  • help for revenue protection

  • monitoring of the generation from building renewables

  • support in demand response techniques

  • more effective grid management

  • a new communication channel to customers.

For EU and national governments

Smart Metering will:

  • prove to be THE tool to entice consumers to manage their consumption better and reduce usage leading the way to improved service levels through richer billing information

  • be a key weapon in the fight on climate change

  • help governments implement liberalisation of energy markets

  • allow the full realisation of the Energy Services Directive

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