Energy companies under fire over smart meters  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The ABC has a report on criticism of energy companies for not installing fully functional smart meters - Energy companies under fire over smart meters.

An environment lobby group says electricity companies are failing to roll out technology that could help reduce household consumption and greenhouse emissions.

The New South Wales Government promised 'smart meter' installation a year ago, but the Total Environment Centre's Jane Castles says only bottom-of-the-line technology is on offer. "[They are] smart meters without in-home displays and they certainly don't offer the right pricing incentives that reflect the benefits of energy efficiency," she said. ...

Energy Australia says initial trials suggest a 20-25 per cent reduction in usage but it is waiting for a national decision on which technology to roll out.

The Independent has a report on a developing feeding frenzy to supply infrastructure for the UK's smart meter rollout - IT firms line up for deal to run UK 'smart' meters.
Communications companies are poised to enter the energy sector under government proposals for the £6bn roll out of "smart" electricity meters to all households by 2020.

Under the scheme expected to be put to the energy industry for consultation in January, IT groups will be invited to bid for a national contract to run the networking and data-processing associated with energy meters that monitor electricity use in real time and provide an always-on, two-way link between the household and the supplier.

Although the details are yet to be worked through, and the tendering process is unlikely to start until the second half of next year, BT, Vodafone and Logica are all said to be in the frame for the deal, which is likely to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Smart meters have considerable potential. Consumers are able to see and track their energy consumption. There are also considerable benefits for energy providers, not least from no longer having to send out armies of staff to read meters.

But the biggest prize is the environmental impact and a smart-metering infrastructure is necessary if the UK is to meet the Government's target for 15 per cent of all energy to be from renewable sources by 2020. Only smart meters can track energy produced as well as energy consumed, so they are vital to plans for expanded use of microgeneration – where rooftop solar panels, for example, not only provide power to the building but feed the excess into the grid. They are also the key to the futuristic concept of "smart grids", where supply and demand across the whole national infrastructure are balanced automatically. Jason Brogan, at the Energy Retail Association, said: "Smart meters are not an answer in themselves but they are a facilitating infrastructure."

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