21 September 2017
The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has today announced its delivery plan for smart meters in Ireland. In a digital age smart meters are the next generation of energy meters and are being rolled out across Europe and internationally. In a phased rollout, around 2.3 million electricity smart meters will be installed in homes and businesses nationwide, replacing old mechanical meters. The rollout will commence in 2019 and continue for six years.
In welcoming the announcement, Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment said "this is one of the most significant energy infrastructure projects in a generation. Smart meters are a cornerstone of our plans to future-proof our energy sector - and indeed wider economy - for the coming decades. Smart meters will assist us decarbonise our society as they facilitate reduced energy consumption and additional energy efficiency. Smart meters will empower consumers by giving them more information and more choice around their energy consumption. They are a necessary element of any plans to facilitate micro-generation - to enable consumers become energy suppliers in their own homes rather than energy takers."
Today's announcement lays out the details of the delivery plan for the introduction of smart meters into Irish homes and businesses. The initial priority is to respond to consumers who request a smart meter and also to replace older meters. A significant meter replacement programme is already necessary – by 2019 almost three quarters of a million meters will be more than 40 years old and in need of replacement. The CER has also completed a Cost-Benefit Analysis on the plan and is satisfied that the investment involved represents value for money for the Irish consumer. In addition, in the CER rollout plan Ireland has learned from the lessons and experience of countries that are already some way down the rollout road.
As well as this need for a natural meter replacement programme, Minister Naughten also highlighted the important policy drivers for the move to upgrade our meters. "There are two main policy drivers of this national smart meter rollout. At home, the Government's Energy White Paper lays out the need for and the benefits of smart meters. In addition, this upgrade is also aligned with the EU's Clean Energy Package which supports the provision of smart meters to consumers. These policies are predicated on the belief that smart meters lead to smart services. I believe that Ireland's energy suppliers will innovate, deliver a tranche of new services that will reduce energy consumption and ultimately assist our economy in reaching a fully decarbonised future."