The actual benefits of smart meters were also questioned at the conference, as several member states have done previously. Germany, for instance, has decided not to have a national roll-out plan at all, running counter to requirements laid out in EU legislation.
EU member states are required to implement smart meters under the 2009 Third Energy Package wherever it is cost-effective to do so, with the goal to replace 80% of electricity meters with smart meters by 2020.
The 80% target applies to both households and commercial buildings, a Commission spokesperson confirmed. The EU executive will publish in the next one to two years a report on smart meters “in the context of our regular monitoring exercise of the progress of members states,” the spokesperson said.
Progress had been sluggish across the bloc in installation of the equipment. And the countries that do have a commitment to smart meters, such as the UK, have run into hurdles in completing its roll-out because some meters would cease to work if a consumer decided to change energy supplier.
Markus Merkel, a senior advisor to the management board of German distribution system operator (DSO) EWE, told the Eurelectric conference that “there isn’t a positive business case” for smart meters in Germany.
If in the neat and tidy Germany it’s already not “a positive business case” for smart meters how about the rest of EU nations where most installations are so old and/or decrepit that it would be a total folly to waste money on those things rather than improving the infrastructure?