Italy and the Nordics are currently leading the pack with over 94% and 70% of meters installed respectively, due in large part to early investment ($3bn by 2006) in smart meter technology by Enel in Italy and the first policy of regulation-driven rollout of smart meters in Sweden. IMS’ predictions for 2015 show France (49%), Spain & Portugal (73%) and the UK & Ireland (65%) catching up. However there is uncertainty on whether the UK will reach its potential this fast.
“The deregulated structure of UK market is uniquely challenging for rapid and co-ordinated action in a large scale initiative like this and we believe that smart meter deployment in 65% of UK homes by 2015 is not possible,” said Mark England, Sentec’s CEO. “There is a great deal of work still to do to finalise the technical and regulatory framework for smart metering.”
Elsewhere, the rollout is well and truly in motion with Western and Northern Europe expecting to see over 70% penetration by 2015, based on IMS’s data. Lagging behind with less than 30% penetration by 2015 are Germany and Poland.
Mark England commented: “Our research highlights that the rollout is at defining moment. As a result, the industry has a unique window of opportunity to ensure that the right specification and rollout decisions are made. The decision by Enel to design and build their smart meters has meant that they have an exact match to their operational requirements at a favourable cost point and it may benefit other utilities to follow their example. To make the most of that approach, it’s crucial that energy companies across Europe are thinking not only about what smart meters need to deliver now, but what they might need to deliver in the future. Only then can smart meters deliver the benefits consumers expect over the next 10 years.”