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ESMIG director details Empower Demand education campaign at Metering, Billing/CRM Europe 2012

Date

10 Oct 2012

Sections

Energy
Innovation & Enterprise

ESMIG director details Empower Demand education campaign at Metering, Billing/CRM Europe 2012

As Europe prepares to adopt Smart Metering, ESMIG director explains how to involve citizens

Brussels – 10 October 2012 A key presentation at this week’s Metering, Billing/CRM Europe 2012 conference, was given by Dr Howard Porter, International Alliances Director of ESMIG, the European Smart Metering Industry Group, who described how best to engage consumers in the impending Europe-wide adoption of Smart Metering technologies.

Dr Porter’s presentation, entitled “Empower Demand - Phase II, Consumer Engagement in Energy Savings”, considered how best to involve consumers during the forthcoming implementation of Smart Metering technologies. Following a variety of international research projects, ESMIG has gained a detailed understanding of this subject.

In 2011, a major research project by ESMIG entitled “Empower Demand”, conducted by the VaasaETT Global Energy Think-Tank, reflected the enormous opportunities afforded by demand response and consumption feedback in Europe, but also highlighted the overwhelming importance of understanding consumers, how to communicate with them and how to ensure their optimal adoption of and interaction with enabling technologies.

Dr Porter’s presentation included the findings of 2012’s follow-up research (“Empower II”) by VaasaETT for ESMIG, which he said, “shines light on the characteristics of communications and feedback from the best Smart Metering pilot projects and programmes from around the world. He added, “The Empower II research has found that to achieve successful Smart Meter implementation requires: outstanding pre-offering education; real-time consumption-related feedback; continuous, personalised interaction with consumers; the opportunity for consumer experimentation prior to automation; more appealing technologies; and innovative financial and other incentives.”

Empower II suggests that future technological Smart Metering solutions will incorporate an enhanced user experience in which automation, self-control, feedback and intelligent advice work hand-in hand, personalised to the individual customer’s needs and character. Until recently there has been a diffuse set of solutions in the market, but the current trend is for the integration of these solutions, something that is an essential pre-requisite to the involvement of customers.

Dr Porter’s wide-ranging speech also covered the importance of: promotional materials; the six-stage process of public education; the “opt in” strategy; the use of fun and games to encourage public participation; smart phones as a medium for feedback and reminders; consumer support with a personalized approach; and the importance of aesthetic devices and displays.

Following the presentation, in a Question and Answer session, delegates from member companies, from the wider Smart Metering sector and other interested parties, asked Dr Porter what recommendations the report makes for utility companies and what would be the appropriate approach for a successful Smart Meters roll-out. He said he hoped that the VaasaETT report would be “read thoroughly” by the utilities. Dr Porter commented: “The results from the nine pilot projects show us that there are six main benefits: empowerment, environment, external and internal relativity, demand predictions and rate of usage. I recommend that utilities read the evidence and find the best way to implement Smart Meters by case and by country. Utilities should slowly introduce the Smart Meter concept to consumers, proceed with timely and accurate readings and later on introduce more advanced technologies such as in-home displays. It should take place in a step by step process.”

About ESMIG

The European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG) is the European industry association that provides knowledge and expertise on Smart Metering and related communications at a European level. ESMIG's members are the leading companies in the European Smart Metering Market: meter manufacturers, IT companies, communications product and service providers and system integrators. ESMIG covers all aspects of Smart Metering, including electricity, gas, water and heat measurement. Member companies cover the entire value chain from meter manufacturing, software, installation and consulting to communications and system integration. By giving support to European Union Institutions, Member States and Standardisation Organisations, the industry group aims to assist in the development of national and European-wide introduction, roll-out and management of Smart Metering solutions.

ESMIG is an Official Associate of the Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign: www.sustenergy.org

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