The “smart” industry has come a long way as more people begin to understand the benefits. Rollouts and adoption show that the industry is developing. Across the European region, business cases for smart metering is positive but each country is faced with their own obstacles which need to be overcome. While numerous pilots seem unnecessary (especially if they have been done before in another country), they are actually carried out to assess its effect on a particular system as a whole.
Smart metering is creating data which the customer never had access to before. This access is empowering customers for the first time and is helping them to become more energy efficient, which in turn has the potential to lower their utility bills.
This access to data creates a certain amount of convenience which is what the consumer is coming to expect from other industries such as telecoms and the retail sector. “Smart technology” like demand response is making the consumer more empowered.
Smart technology is helping the utility to develop a better relationship with the customer as it relays information on outages in a more efficient manner, for instance, to the customer. In the past, the customer was always the one advising the utility of an outage. But now, for the first time ever, the utility is advising the customer that it is aware of the outage and is in the process of fixing it.
Not only does the smart meter assist the utility to respond to issues more efficiently, it is also helps to develop a more trusting and transparent utility-customer relationship.