Smart Metering optimises Europe's energy usage by Klaus-Dieter Axt, Operations Director in the European Energy Innovation magazine

Smart metering optimises Europe’s energy usage

By Klaus-Dieter Axt, Operations Director, ESMIG

The European Union has set itself ambitious targets with the Electricity Directive anticipating complete deployment of Smart Meters by 2022 at the latest, and 80% of consumers equipped with Smart Metering systems by 2020. As there is a lack of research that provides empirical evidence of the energy savings potential of Smart Metering technology and of likely consumer benefits, the Brussels-based European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG) commissioned Finnish energy think tank VaasaETT to analyse large-scale Smart Metering-enabled programmes and make recommendations.

A key conclusion from the VaasaETT research – newly published by ESMIG as the Empower Demand report – is that there is an increasing number of Smart Meter installations that are monitored in order to measure their effects on energy use, on consumer behaviour and their impacts on energy management.

The proposed revision of Europe’s Energy Efficiency Directive, which is currently under discussion in the European Parliament, also acknowledges the importance of Smart Metering and active consumer engagement through real-time information and more frequent billing. ESMIG believes that this Directive should lay the foundations to allow consumers and utilities to realise the full potential of Smart Metering-enabled programmes described in the report.

The Empower Demand report (its full title is The Potential of Smart Meter-Enabled Programs to Increase Energy and Systems Efficiency: A Mass Pilot Comparison) examines the actual effects of around 100 Smart Meter-enabled pilots and roll-outs across the world; analyses which features and set-ups result in the greatest effects; and summarises conclusions for maximising energy savings and consumer benefits.

Key findings

ESMIG’s report shows that significant reductions in the energy used by consumers and changes in the times of day that they use energy can be achieved by appropriate Smart Metering installations. The display of almost real-time energy consumption data on in-home devices (IHDs) has led to an average 8.7% reduction in energy consumption. Lower but still significant reductions of 5%-6% on average were achieved through enhanced, more informative bills and access to usage data on websites. The different types of dynamic pricing mechanisms used in the pilots and roll-outs have all shown that energy loads up to 16% can be time-shifted (“peak clipping”) for the benefit of both consumers and utilities, who could see smoothing out of current demand spikes.

The above-mentioned results of Smart Meter-enabled programmes can be maintained over the years. Behavioural changes by consumers who make use of the potential of Smart Metering technologies can become permanent thus securing the significant and long-lasting effects necessary to achieve the European Union’s ambitious energy efficiency targets. The EU's strategy for tackling climate change focuses on three targets for 2020: cutting “greenhouse” emissions by 20%; drawing 20% of energy from renewable sources; and reducing overall energy use by 20%.

ESMIG is confident that the report will encourage further research into and debate on the best use of Smart Metering technologies in Europe and beyond. Feedback and discussion on the report’s findings or future research topics is very welcome and would be appreciated. The full report (“Empower Demand”) is available on the ESMIG website: 


The European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG), headquartered in Brussels, is the Europe-wide industry association that provides knowledge and expertise on Smart Metering and related communications across the continent. ESMIG's members are the leading companies in Europe’s Smart Metering market: meter manufacturers, IT companies, communication service providers and system integrators.

ESMIG covers all aspects of Smart Metering of utilities, including electricity, gas, water and heat measurement. Member companies cover the entire value chain from meter manufacturing, software, installation and consulting to communications and system integration. ESMIG is an Official Associate of the Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign:


Notes for Editors:

For further information and feedback on the report please contact:

ESMIG Secretariat

Phone: +32 2 7068257, Fax: +32 2 7068250


European Smart Metering Industry Group

Boulevard A. Reyers 80, 1030 Brussels, Belgium


Jessica Stromback

Office: +358 (0)92 516 6257

Mobile +358 (0)44 906 6821

For questions on the research please contact:

Christophe Dromacque

Office: +358 (0)9 2516 6257

Mobile: +358 (0)4 4906 6822

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