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What is a smart meter?

As in other sectors such as banking and telephone services, digitisation is about to revolutionise the way we use electrical power! Our good old-fashioned electromechanical meters are increasingly making way for so-called ‘intelligent’ meters, also referred to as smart or communicating meters.

How do smart meters work?

Unlike the electromechanical meters which need to be read manually, smart meters:

  • record in their memory, to a set protocol, the amount of electrical power taken up and the amounts of power used at different times of the day for each day of the week;
  • electronically transmit these data to the network operator  or the customer; 
  • can be remote and checked by the network operator;
  • alert the network operator if the meter cover is opened, which gives rise to suspicions of fraud.

What are the benefits of smart meters?

Daily monitoring of your consumption

Thanks to a device connected to the meter (port P1), which is already available from certain suppliers, you can display your consumption levels and adapt your behaviour to use less power or, as applicable, consume power when it is cheaper.

Bills based on actual consumption

Goodbye to estimates! We will evolve towards monthly billing based on actual power consumption, whilst maintaining the option of smoothing out the billing over 12 months.

Faster interventions on the meter

To open a meter, you will no longer need to wait for a technician to call round for instance. The operation can be conducted remotely by the distribution network operator.

Better security of supply

Smart meters make it possible to better manage consumption peaks , and in doing so help to stabilise the grid.

More flexible pricing plans

In the not so distant future, we will be able to make the most of rewarding price offers at times of peak wind or solar power generation. Smart meters will enable us to programme household appliances to kick in at the time of day when the rate is at its lowest.

Greater accuracy when moving house

With smart meters recording and retaining daily consumption patterns, it is easy to find the exact period of the day when tenants/owners switch property. Goodbye to arguments!

Smart meters: crucial to the energy evolution

Almost all European countries have rolled out or are beginning to roll out smart meters. The smart meter is the vital link in the energy evolution. Phasing out nuclear power, stepping up the numbers of electric vehicles, local energy generation and heat pumps are the realities network managers need to take into account. These meters are necessary to manage consumption peaks better. They make it possible to avoid having to invest in strengthening the grid on a case-by-case basis.

Since 2009, Europe has been recommending Member States to set up smart metering systems to encourage active consumer participation in the energy supply market. The aim? The aim is to give people access to their own consumption data so they are more aware of their energy use and the times of the day when they consume energy so they can make the most of flexible pricing offers in the future (due to be available quite soon). 

The European Energy Efficiency Directive (2012) also requires the installation of electronic meters in certain cases. This directive was transposed into Brussels law in 2014, making it compulsory for this type of meter to be fitted in new-builds or where home owners carry out major renovation work.

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