Nein! German ministry rejects smart meters

Quick Take: Many of us (most of us?) have assumed that the smart meter wave would roll through the U.S. and then on to Europe and the rest of the world. Now comes a report from a German agency that says smart meters don’t make economic sense in that country. This despite the fact that EU countries are under a mandate to connect 80% of their customers to smart meters no later than 2020.

Not only could this have major repercussions in Europe – it could also rebound back to the U.S., where roughly two-thirds of all meters are still the old-fashioned kind. It’s not hard to imagine that this negative assessment will give some U.S. regulators pause.

Still, all is not lost. A separate report from a pan-European trade association lays out the steps European utilities can take to make smart meters a reality, as you can read by clicking the link. – By Jesse Berst
Ernst & Young has authored a study on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics analyzing the costs and benefits of a full smart meter rollout. It concludes that smart meters are not in the interest German consumers.
European Union (EU) climate mandates require that member countries connect at least 80% of customers to smart meters by 2020. However, the implementation may be subject to an economic assessment, such as the one just published.
The study says the savings from smart meters do not justify the costs, particularly for residential customers. It therefore concludes that it would not be reasonable to impose the 80% target on German utilities. Instead, it recommends an alternative deployment whereby smart meters would be installed only when an existing meter needed to be replaced anyway.
The Federation of the German Energy and Water Industry (BDEW) applauded the results, which confirm the long-standing position of that industry Association.

Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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