In Brussels the roll-out of the smart meter is being organised by Sibelga, the power and gas distribution network operator.
As a neutral agent in the energy market, Sibelga has all the right skills and expertise to handle the management and processing of reliable and accurate consumption data for everyone, in strict compliance with the applicable statutory frameworks that govern the protection of privacy and the confidentiality of consumption.
In practical terms, Sibelga does not want to rush into a large-scale roll-out. Its strategy is to move forward step by step and to carry on testing different technologies and practical matters ahead of the proposed installations.
As such, before moving on to ‘full-option’ smart meters, Sibelga will install so-called ‘ smart-ready‘ meters in new-builds and major renovations. These meters cannot be remote-controlled and will not be read automatically. All the same, their operation can be remote-checked and Sibelga can log into these meters for technical maintenance purposes. Sibelga is currently installing around 5,000 of these meters each year.
The new self-producers and the owners of electric vehicle charging stations will also be provided with smart-ready meters. An estimated 250 a year will be placed for self-producers. The number associated with electric vehicles is still difficult to estimate at the moment.
A bigger roll-out of around 40,000 meters a year is not planned before 2023. But a lot can still change between now and then (costs, technology, needs, etc).
Smart meters can use two different types of technology to communicate: 2G/4G, like GSM, or the PLC (Power Line Carrier). The latter depends on the mains network. The information is sent along your power supply cables to the 2G/4G concentrator in a high-voltage substation.
2G/4G is suitable for dispersed deployment, while PLC is rather appropriate for systematic geographically concentrated deployment.
Which technology for Brussels? Both technologies will be put to the test:
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