Answer given by Mr Oettinger on behalf of the Commission
The deployment and use of smart meters has been promoted by Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services(1) since 2006, which provides for an obligation for Member States to ensure that, whenever financially and technically feasible, a smart meter is installed in newly constructed houses and when a major refurbishment of a house takes place. The Commission closely monitors the implementation of this provision by the Member States.
In addition, since Autumn 2008 the Commission has been supporting a Concerted Action, which provides a forum for bi-annual exchanges between policy-makers from the Member States on experience and best practices and on the implementation of key provisions of Directive 2006/32/EC. Since the adoption of the European Parliament's resolution on 19 February 2009 on ‘follow-up of the energy efficiency national action plans’(2), two meetings under this Concerted Action have been held, where the Commission and Member States also addressed the issue of smart metering.
In 2009, the mandatory deployment of smart metering was supported by the adoption of the new Electricity Directive(3), which requires Member States to prepare a cost-benefit analysis of smart metering systems by 3 September 2012 and to equip at least 80 % of the customers assessed positively with smart meters by 2020(4). The need for EU‑wide implementation measures for these provisions is currently under discussion with stakeholders.
The Commission also adopted a recommendation in November 2009 on mobilising Information and Communications Technologies to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy(5). The recommendation invites Member States to set up by the end of 2012 a timeframe for the rollout of smart metering.
As regards metrological requirements which guarantee the accuracy, traceability and durability of measurement results, smart meters are subject to the requirements in the Measuring Instruments Directive(6). This the case for gas and electricity meters intended for residential, commercial and light industry use. As there are few requirements regarding the aspects of smart metering in the directive, the Commission has in 2009 mandated the European standardisation bodies CEN, CENELEC and ETSI to develop key standards in this area(7).
Awareness raising of the importance of the use of ICT in smart metering has been and is the objective of several Commission actions and studies. A recent study underlines the importance of the use of ICT in smart metering and emphasises the need for an agreement on common standards. The study on ‘Metering and measurement facilities as enabling technologies for smart electricity grids in Europe’ was part of the sectoral e-Business Watch 2009.(8)
The most recent event in this regard took place on 23-24 February 2010 in Brussels with the second high-level event on ICT for Energy Efficiency(9), whereby major stakeholders expressed their opinion on how to move forward swiftly in implementing smart metering systems.