Meter-ON steering the implementation of smart meters

Executive Summary

The analysis of the Smart Meter projects identified in the framework of WP1, “Collection”, is a necessary step to reach the goal of the Meter-ON Project, which is establishing guidelines for the implementation of smart metering solutions.

In this document, a topic-based analysis is performed by different task for each project. Each task addresses a specific set of information domains, which is shown in the following:

  • Technological Analysis: focuses on the different technologies involved in smart meters;
  • Quantitative Analysis: pays attention on the financing mechanisms, cost-benefits and if the company adopted a make-or-buy approach;
  • Qualitative Analysis: focuses on regulatory & legal framework in place in each country and in Europe;
  • Advanced Topics: investigates the possible applications of smart meters as a pillar of smart grid functionalities.

Seven projects, which participated in the second data collection campaign, have been analyzed.

The analysis shows that, in most of the considered European countries, there is a plan for the development and implementation of smart metering systems. In some countries, these systems are already being rolled out or are in an advanced testing phase, while in one country these projects are in early stages, R&D or pilot, confirming the fact that these systems are universally recognized as one of the main blocks for the smart-grid development.

The greatest benefits that the smart-metering systems bring are a better observability and managing of the network that lead to an improvement of the overall efficiency, the reduction of technical and commercial losses, and the ability to integrate renewable energy resources and electric vehicles more easily. They also represent the means to implement further policies for demand response. So, smart-metering infrastructure bring benefit for customers, and overall society, and to system and DSO as well.     

The results of the projects’ analyses are the main input for the WP3, “Lesson Learned and Recommendations”, which will incorporate cross-topic analyses (based on the information domains described above), reviews of the practices in the investigated projects and prescriptions to foster the positive evolution of smart metering taking into consideration current economic, social and technological trends in The European Union and the world.



The purpose of this deliverable is to provide an update of the topic-based analysis started in the deliverable D2.1. The analysis is performed for the projects identified in the second data collection campaign (see Deliverable D1.4). Each project has been individually analysed according to different information domains as identified in deliverable 1.1 “Stakeholder list, Advisory Board composition and Relevant information domains”, and consequently, for each information domain, a summary of the different approaches or characteristics is being provided (e.g., the most adopted solutions or the most common requirement).

1        Introduction

WP2 analyses each project and deployment initiative provided by WP1. A topic-based analysis is performed by different tasks, each addressing a particular set of information domains. Within WP2, each project is individually analysed concurrently by each task. The tasks identifying missing information highlight them to WP1 and require WP1 to provide access to them (whether is possible). Performing a topic-based analysis within different topic-related tasks ensures that the same information domain is addressed on each analysed project; furthermore, each task is performed by a given expert group being responsible to deepen the assigned information domain for each questioned smart-metering project.


In order to gather information on past or ongoing smart metering projects in the framework of WP1, a data collection template has been elaborated and sent to all the project partners and affiliates to be filled in. The template addresses the most relevant topics on every considered smart meter project, including also contextual information, e.g. regarding regulatory framework, in force laws, information on the initiatives carried out to improve customer acceptance and ongoing smart grid developments.

The deliverable “Analysis of smart metering projects” relies on this questionnaire to perform a detailed assessment and interpretation of the information needed to outline the main features of each project and a summary of the main characteristics observed in the entire group of projects. The outcomes of the analysis will be considered in WP3 to draw a set of lessons learned on the basis of past experiences and recommendations for policymakers and utilities to foster the deployment of these technologies in Europe.

To accomplish the scope of the analysis, the work has been performed by taking into consideration 4 different tasks that correspond to the 4 domains of the template (besides general information about the demonstration projects):


“Technology Analysis”, focuses the attention on the different technologies involved in smart meters. In particular, upstream and downstream communication technologies, used for the communication of the meters with possible data concentrators or data repeaters, as well as with the back-end system; local communication technologies (exploited by field workers for commissioning activities as well as by in-home devices for building automation or demand side management), and characteristics of the information collected, regarding type of data, collection frequency and configuration of parameters. In addition, cyber security and privacy analysis aims to highlight the adopted approaches to tackle the issues, in particular by outlining if authentication and encryption are foreseen in each smart metering project.


“Quantitative Analysis”, focuses the attention on the financing mechanisms, cost-benefits and if the company adopted a make-or-buy approach. Financing Mechanism Analysis aims at providing a rough cash-flow analysis for each analysed project, underlying the main economics of the projects like capital expenditures, operational expenditures, pay-back period, tariff-incoming, services-incoming, opportunity-costs, savings, return of the investment and internal rate of return. Make-or-buy and Development Process Analysis aims to underline which are the developing outsourcers, the equipment suppliers, the services suppliers and the contract manufacturers. When it is possible, it points out the financing mechanisms, the contracts the joint ventures and, whether is possible, the economical drivers (e.g., opportunity costs).


Qualitative Analysis” focuses the attention on regulatory & legal framework in place in each country and in Europe to outline the framework conditions and their impact on the development of each smart metering project. Therefore, for each country remuneration scheme like Regulatory Asset Based and measurement services remuneration are considered to outline what regulators allow and require. The legal framework is also analysed to identify which legal entity is entitled and responsible for installing smart meters, operating them and providing metrological data and services. The Security of Electricity Supply Directive (2005/89/EC) addressed Smart Metering for the first time. Article 3 says that Member States shall take appropriate measures to safeguard the balance between the demand for electricity and availability of generation capacity, which may include. For each country it is shown how their regulatory and legal framework is influencing the adoption of real-time demand management technologies such as advanced metering systems, research and any other different approach taken by the authorities across the EU. User Acceptance and Customer Involvement is also assessed for each project, detailing how final customers have been involved, the initiatives taken from each company to foster the active participation of the users, and whether possible customer empowering devices like home displays or active demand systems were accepted or rejected by final customers.


“Advanced Topics” focuses on the possible applications of smart meters as a pillar to implement smart grid functionalities. This task underlines how the smart meter and Automated Metering Infrastructures impact on distribution network operation (network planning, operation and maintenance, technical and non-technical losses and quality of supply). It is also analyzed how they can be used to foster the penetration of Distributed Energy Resources and electric vehicle  charging infrastructure, devices for empowering customers in demand response actions like in-home display showing metrological data and devices interacting with home appliances, for a fine-grained power quality analysis, metering of generation and, finally  multi-metering, i.e., systems collecting metrological information for different utilities exploiting all possible synergies.


Overview of the technology analysis


From the analysis of the 7 projects participating in the second data collection campaign (see Deliverable D1.4) the following considerations emerge for the technology analysis.



  • 3 projects are being rolled out. In one case, there is a total involvement of the DSO customer base, while in another case it is planned to reach 90% of customers by 2020. The third project involves only 10% of customers so, in this case it is considered a “small roll-out” project.
  • 3 projects are in the pilot phase. One involves 6300 customers (2.527.000 in case of roll-out), one 2500 customers while the third involves 460 customers.
  • 1 project is in R&D phase with a target of 400.000 customers involved by 2020.


  • 5 projects use both PLC and GPRS technologies; one project uses PLC only, while the last one uses GPRS technology only.
  • The most used communication protocols are DLMS and IP-based which are used in 2 projects each respectively. Considering the remaining 3 projects, two use both DLMS (PLC) and TCP-IP (GPRS/LAN), one project uses a proprietary protocol.

Local interfaces

  • Out of the 7 projects considered, 4 of them present smart meters with an optical interface. In one project there is also a serial RS-485 interface that implements the Modbus protocol used for interfacing with the HAN. In the project in which there is no optical interface both a numerical local interface and a tariff contact are present.


  • All projects but one have a smart meter with an alphanumerical display. In 3 cases it is compatible with OBject Identification System (OBIS) codes. In the project in which the display is not alphanumeric, it presents predefined indicators and value fields. Also, in one case there is the possibility to add an external display connected with a wireless communication.

Electrically protective device and switchgear

  • In 3 cases the smart meter has an electrical protective device, which is an overcurrent/short-circuit protection.
  • In only 3 cases there is an internal switchgear, that is a circuit breaker that can be locally rearmed after a previous enabling.
  • In one case there is a mechanism that can disconnect the customer due to power and/or energy limit exceeding, but it can’t be considered a fully-fledged circuit breaker.

Load control

  • 5 projects make load control mechanisms available in the smart meter. In four cases it is simply based on the disconnection of the customer’s performed by the smart meter’s internal switchgear while in the remaining case it is based on the disconnection of the heating devices. In two cases there is a current/power limiter.

Backup power supply

  • In 6 out of 7 projects the smart meter has a backup power supply. In 3 cases it is a supercap, in two cases it is a battery and in the last one it can be a battery or a supercap. In one project there is no backup power supply.

Remote clock synchronization

  • In all projects the real-time clock of the smart meter is remotely synchronized. However, in one project it can be synchronized only for industrial customers.

Prepayment mechanism

  • In 2 projects out of 7 there is a prepayment mechanism. In one project prepayment is an option for the future, while in the 4 remaining projects there are no prepayment mechanisms.

Contract management

  • In three projects there is the possibility to manage contracts both locally and remotely. In other three projects this possibility is available only remotely while in one project there is no possibility to manage contracts.

Fraud detection

  • In all projects there is a meter’s cover-open detection mechanism. In four projects there is also a magnetic field detector.

Cyber security

  • In one project cyber security is still a work in progress.
  • All the remaining 6 projects ensure cyber security. Generally, it is done by the use of the cyber security mechanisms defined in the communication protocol used. In some projects those mechanisms have been improved, for example by the insertion of further user’s access rights, by the use of a better authentication mechanism or by permitting the transmission of meter’s data only after a specific request by the concentrator.
  • Data encryption is present in 6 projects.


Overview of the quantitative analysis


From the analysis of the further 7 projects participating in the second data collection campaign (see Deliverable D1.4), the following considerations emerge for the quantitative analysis.


Financial Information


In the financial information section, the picture is pretty dispersed. The value of the budget changes a lot, strongly depending on the kind of project under consideration (from pilot projects to roll-out). The highest budget sums up to 135M€ corresponding to 6300 meters. In three out of four available cases the funding type is 100% public (Eandis, Enexis BV and Fortum) while 12% funding type is public if considering EVN. The payback period is pretty much heterogeneous ranging from 9,7 and more than 50 years. The estimates of IRR are missing in all cases but for Eandis (6,84) and EDF (13), they are higher than the WACC, leading always to positive NPVs. Little information has been provided to analyze the Discount Rate. 


Cost – Benefit


In this section, an overview of costs and forward looking benefits of projects M€ (million euros) vs. operative or M€/year (million euros per year) is provided. Considering capital costs, it may be noticed that there is a remarkable  variance; e.g. considering Fortum (87,50%), Liander (98,87%) or EVN (48,28%) respectively. Considering field devices cost, data appear to be pretty heterogeneous; only three cases are available: Eandis (10,87%), EDF (0,19%) and Fortum (12,5%). Little information is also available on data communication infrastructure: Eandis (9,47%), EDF (0,20%) and Fortum (51,76%). With reference to operative costs – using the same taxonomy –  costs allocation significantly changes; in facts in premise costs lies around 67% of the operative costs in two out of three available cases; in only two projects, data on field devices costs  (EDF 0,18% and EVN 59%,) and on data communication infrastructure (EDF 70,14% and Fortum 33%) are available

Estimated benefits are scattered according to the beneficiary: (i) consumer, (ii) industry, (ii) country and (iv) others. Moreover, expected benefits are calculated using the same metrics; M€ or M€/year consistently with costs. It is a well-known fact that the estimation of benefits across time is complex and requires complete information. If one focuses on consumer M€ benefits, available data from the two available cases show 76% as an average while business benefits’ share approximately 41,5%; other beneficiaries do not cover a notable role. Taking into consideration the M€/year benefits, consumer benefits are approximately 54% (three cases available); about 44% is the share of business benefits.

Finally, the cost section is contains two tables, we in fact distinguished costs in M€ and M€/year.


Supply Chain


The picture remains pretty dispersed, as in the first group of projects. Again, at an aggregated level, while the level of integration ranges from “null or very low integration” (as an example, the case of GNF – Spain) to “extreme” integration (a couple of examples: Enel Muntenia, and ERDF – France), some activities are on the average performed internally, like Logistics, Maintenance, and Data Management; on the other hand, Manufacturing is always performed by suppliers. When it comes to suppliers belonging to the group, the supply is almost always performed by a single supplier (except the case of EANDIS – Belgium), showing a somehow close relationship; as for the suppliers not belonging to the group, there is a mixture of single/multiple supplier and Long/Short-Term Buyer-Supplier-Relationship (BSR) in place (please notice that the majority of the BSRs are Long-Term ones). Not enough information is provided to discuss the most relevant costs for the current Supply Chains.

As for the prospective (or current) roll-out projects, a few differences can be highlighted. The structure of the SC should not vary, apart from a few cases. In one case (EDP – Portugal), Data Communication (currently performed only by suppliers) will be also performed internally; in addition, there are some clues about the future BSRs, including multiple suppliers and both Long and Short-Term relationships. In a second case (Enel – Romania), the level of integration will decrease dramatically, up to only performing internally the Logistics and Data Communication activities; Manufacturing, Installation, and Maintenance will be bought from multiple suppliers, by means of Long-Term BSRs. In a third case (ENEXIS – Netherlands), the level of integration will decrease from “complete” to extreme, outsourcing the manufacturing activity. Minor changes/refinements can also be observed in the cases of ERDF – France, where Tendering will be the only way to deal with suppliers (whilst currently LT and ST BSRs co-exist), and GNF – Spain, where information is provided about BSRs (multiple suppliers, LT BSRs).


Overview of the qualitative analysis


From the analysis of the further 7 projects participating in the second data collection campaign (see Deliverable D1.4) the following considerations emerge for the qualitative analysis.

The “Third Energy Package” aims at creating a more competitive and transparent European Energy Market that will benefit end-users by gradually integrating national markets, making supplies more secure and strengthening European Union’s competitiveness. According to Directive 2009/72/EC, European energy networks are subject to unbundling requirements which oblige all Member States to make certain that vertically integrated energy companies are separated into various stages of energy supply: generation, distribution, transmission and supply. The deadline for transposing the 3rd Energy Package into national legislation has been set for 03.03.2011, but as practice shows each Member State has various interpretations of the matter as shown in the below analysis. Information regarding the current status has been collected through the project’s questionnaire and also analysing the available literature on the matter (accessed until October 2013). The preference of regulatory and legal instruments to promote smart metering ranges from mandating its introduction through the definition of minimum technical requirements and adding, or not, some financial incentives to the other extreme of removing regulatory and legal barriers, thus enabling, and not mandating, smarting metering.  

As for the customer’s side the analysis points out the acceptance and involvement issues in the running/finished projects. The involvement of the customer is noted to be a complex point linked to the regulation in place in each Member State, where customers are expected to be engaged in these changes, but as some evidence show the information needs to be shared in a more accessible and understandable manner for them not to see smart meters as a danger or privacy intruder and to experience real benefits from their usage, thus ensuring that utilities companies offer the best value for energy and related services.

It is observed that in some cases companies running the smart metering projects adopts a clear strategy targeting the engagement of the end-users, but in other cases it is clear how the focus is more on the technological side and how the customer is not involved at the early stage of implementation. The initiatives to engage the consumers in the smart metering implementation range from basic informative letters on the matter with updates throughout the process, to round-table meetings with the stakeholders and to large-scale surveys and Customer Service platforms to attract customers in providing their opinions and to enhance their interaction with the smart meter.



Overview of the advanced topics


From the analysis of the further 7 projects participating in the second data collection campaign (see Deliverable D1.4)  the following considerations emerge for the advanced topic analysis.


Impact of smart metering on distribution network operation

One half of the DSOs have not provided information about the impact on distribution network operation.

Regarding network planning and maintenance, the other half has not executed any experiment yet, except of Fortum, who will integrate AMM meters with the Distribution Management System (DMS), receiving real-time alarms. Power quality and event data will be used for planning of maintenance investments.

The impact on technical losses is positive for Hungary and Finland; however, the non-technical losses are only considered for Hungary, because they are already small, and smart metering makes them even smaller. The other projects have not provided any information on this topic.

Regarding the information on quality of service, just EDF Demasz has provided information about the improvement on this topic due to smart meters, for example voltage quality or network outages data.


EV Charging Infrastructure

The smart metering allows the deployment of EV charging infrastructures able to manage the charges and minimize the impact of EV penetration in the power grid, maintaining the conditions of QoS and continuity of the supply. Smart meters also enable the possibility of EVs to support the power system, giving remaining energy to the grid in case of need systemically (Vehicle to Grid, V2G), or locally (Vehicle to Home, V2H).

Smart metering systems from Enexis, Liander and Fortum deal with innovative services for EV charging, and, in the case of Enexis, also for V2G, while EDF Démasz pilot and EVN AG do not provide EV charging services.


Distributed Generation

In order to facilitate the introduction of distributed generators, smart meters implement the ability of measuring information about the generation patterns. On this matter, for EDF Démasz and Fortum, the meter is programmed to get incremental values from the six magnitudes, A+, A- and reactive energy in 4 quadrants. Smart meter can take bi-directional measures, reactive energy measures, apart from the compliance with standard AMI functions. Enexis is responsible for metering data collected from domestic end customers/prosumers. However, EVN AG meters are not able to measure produced energy. No information is provided by the rest of DSOs.


Demand Response

All DSOs but two include Demand Response activities in their projects. Several of them (EDF Démasz, Enexis, Liander and Fortum) provide different interfaces to consult the smart meter information, such as web interface, TV, smartphone, in-home display, and EVN AG provides just a display. In addition, EDF Démasz and Fortum provide Time of Use tariffs.

In Hungary and the Netherlands, no initiatives are carried out from the National Regulatory Authorities. In Finland, demand response is a basic and accepted service. Fortum meters have a load control relay, used to control loads at customer sites.

Two DSOs (EDF Démasz and Liander) are going to perform market tests to evaluate the potential impact on the customer acceptance of such initiatives

Regarding the participation in pilot projects, Enexis is involved in different initiatives, such as Zuby, Plugwise, and pilots in Breda/Zwolle, while Fortum is conducting the Dynamic Load control pilot, where meter relay is used to control heating load to be on during cheapest spot price hours.


Other services

Regarding other advanced metering solutions, half of the DSOs are involved in developing multimetering solutions. On this matter, EDF Démasz is developing a multi-solution project, where gas and water meters will be installed, without an existing electricity smart metering infrastructure. Dutch smart metering systems (Enexis and Liander) are for electricity and gas (water and heat meters are owned by other companies). EVN AG smart metering system also combines electricity and gas meters.



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