The Need to Integrate Smart Meters and Smart Grids

Smart meters’ potential can only be realised once they are integrated into a smart grid.
Published: Mon 08 Dec 2014

In this live studio interview at the European Utility Week 2014, Engerati asks Alain Bollack, Director, Global Power & Utilities Centre, Ernst & Young to discuss the business issues around smart grid and metering and how the utility business model is undergoing necessary change. The discussion is centred around his presentation How to Integrate Smart Metering and Smart Grid?

Realignment of smart metering and grid programmes

While there is a big push towards smart metering in Europe, smart grid investment is still lacking due to an unclear regulatory regime. The strategic imperative requires the integration of smart meters and the smart grid but this doesn’t always occur due to funding, regulatory pressure, lack of investment, industry integration, programme scale and technology maturity. He points out that smart meters’ potential can only be realised once they are integrated into a smart grid. The incremental benefits of integration are discussed in detail in his presentation.

Bollack explains how the regulator should enable investment into smart grid development since utilities want to be able to guarantee the return on their investments. He says that there is a need for a change in the remuneration model for distribution companies and their investors.

He says there is a real need for smart metering and smart grid programmes to be realigned and this can be achieved in two steps:

1.Build a transparent prioritization of smart grid initiatives

2.Build a plan that drives consensus across the entire stakeholder community

Throughout this process, he says it is critical to for all parties including customers, investors, the internal team (staff) and the regulator, to engage effectively.