European Smart Energy Industry sees the EU “Winter Package” as a boost to intelligent technology investments
Brussels, 30 November ESMIG, the voice of European energy solution providers, advocates for a profound change in Europe’s energy system. Our industry views the European Commission “Clean energy for all Europeans” package as a necessary step in the transformation to a flexible, dynamic, consumer-centric system.
The smart meter is directly linked to the visions of the Energy Union and indispensable in achieving the European Union’s goals of a secure, competitive and sustainable energy supply system. Its successful deployment will enable consumer empowerment, measuring and thus managing consumption patterns, market-based price signals, an optimization of networks and will set the base for further services addressed to consumers.
It is appropriate, as this package of legislation does, to put all main electricity smart metering related provisions in the Electricity Directive, avoiding in this way a fragmentation and duplication of legislation on this topic.
Energy efficiency first
ESMIG recognises energy efficiency as the underlying principle of these proposals. We appreciate the Commission’s ambition, for example encouraging market-based prices, that reflect actual demand and supply. This is indeed essential in a well-functioning market and can send the right signals to allow market players to optimise their roles with the final goal of saving electricity.
However, we need to think of effectiveness, not just efficiency: it is not just the amount of energy/money that consumers can save, but rather achieving benefits for the whole system and taking into account the costs of not taking action. Therefore, the baseline must not be the cost of implementing certain measures or deploying smart technologies, but rather the cost of not taking action.
Consumer placed at the heart
We share the view that for a fundamental change to happen in Europe’s energy system, the policies need to be set with the consumer in mind. The system needs to be designed for them to receive accurate and timely information, to enable them to acknowledge and change their consumption patterns, to encourage them to engage in energy generation, demand response, and to protect their rights and privacy.
The smart meter is the first step in achieving all this. The Electricity Directive entitles consumers to request a smart meter equipped with common minimum functionalities. ESMIG points out, however, that a full-rollout is still the most efficient and cost-effective way to bring the benefits of smart metering to the final consumer.
Focus on smart technologies and services
To achieve the desired change, the Commission needs to look at how to use existing technologies, while encouraging the development of new ones. We appreciate the consistent focus on this, by stating that consumers need to have access to smart systems and new demand services and by insisting on removing regulatory barriers for the service providers to enter the market.
However, we would like to see more actions and incentives towards further implementation of existing smart systems and a clearer focus on interoperability as a means to this.
Willem Strabbing, ESMIG’s Managing Director, points out: “European Commission’s focus on consumer involvement and engagement is applaudable, but we need to be clear on the conditions for making this a reality. Not only Smart Meters should have the necessary functionalities, but also additional technologies (such as displays or apps) and services need to be made available to consumers before they can be involved and engaged. We call on European and national stakeholders to join forces with us in realising this.”
ESMIG is the European voice of smart energy solution providers. Our members provide products, information technology and services solutions for Electricity, Gas, Water or Heat metering, data transfer or and security, display and/or management of energy consumption and generation at consumer premises. Our activities are focused around systems for smart metering, consumer energy management and safe and secure data transfer. We work closely with EU policy makers and other EU associations to make Europe’s energy and water systems cleaner, reliable, more efficient and the European consumer informed, empowered and engaged.