An intelligent meter ( English smart meter ) is in the narrower sense an electricity meter that receives and sends digital data and is integrated into a communication network for this purpose. Received data are e.g. B. tariff changes, sent data z. B. the electrical energy passed through .
Such intelligent meters have been in use, especially for large customers, since the 1990s. Since around 2010 they have also been offered to private households.
Depending on the model, intelligent meters can also transmit data to the energy supply company at a rapid pace , which should enable it to better manage the network and resources. The system is then more of a communicating measuring device. The customer can also read out and view current and logged values if necessary.
Smart meters are together with automatic load and resource management component of smart grids ( English Smart Grid ). In Germany, intelligent meters should also be used in conjunction with smart meter gateways for use in the network.
In addition to electricity meters, meters equipped for remote transmission for gas, water and district heating consumption are also referred to as intelligent meters.
The use of the term “ smart meter ” is inconsistent.
Up to now, digital meters with or without a communication module were collectively referred to as modern meters or EDL21 / EDL40 meters .
According to the Measuring Point Operation Act of September 2016, simple digital meters are now referred to as modern measuring devices and digital meters that are also networked are called intelligent measuring systems or smart meters .
The spread of intelligent measuring systems will only slowly increase from 2020, as there were hardly any counting systems that met the security requirements of the architecture newly developed by the Federal Office for Information Security .
An intelligent measuring system consists of two elements:
- the modern measuring device that digitally counts the flow of electricity, and
- as the Smart Meter Gateway designated interface which store the counter values, and process data with a network to communicate.
Both units can be in one device. If only a modern measuring device is installed in the house, then this is not integrated into a communication network such as the Internet. In most cases, however, it can be upgraded to an intelligent measuring system with a separate smart meter gateway ( EnWG / No. 7 MsbG).
The point between the network and the customer system at which the electricity consumption is measured is called the measuring point . The person who installs and operates the intelligent metering systems is the meter operator . This is regularly the local electricity distribution network operator ( network operator ). The customer can, however, switch to an independent metering point operator who makes the metering devices available independently of the network operator. However, these independent metering point operators are not yet represented in all regions of Germany.
Areas of application
The use of smart meters is interesting for utilities in order to adapt provision to consumption. Remote readable meters also make annual reading on site superfluous, as the meter data can be read out electronically by the provider. In addition, the readings and the billing of several supply networks can be combined. The installation of communicative meters is primarily of interest when an appropriate infrastructure has to be created for electricity or gas meters, where there is increasingly a legal obligation, as well as when old meters are routinely replaced.
As optional customer service, variable tariffs , for example hourly or load-variable billing, are possible and thus better tariff systems . It is also interesting for the consumer that the devices deliver up-to-date data via an interface such as a television or computer. This means that consumption can be optimized, both by changing usage behavior and by locating devices with particularly high consumption.
Overall, intelligent meters can not only be economically interesting, they also serve the more sustainable use of resources.
The most prominent example are the intelligent electricity meters, which in the minimal version display the current output, as well as the consumption of the last 24 hours, week, month, year and / or are equipped with a communication module. This module can be used to transmit the meter reading to the supplier in various time grids and to visualize it for the customer via a web portal.
Variants similar to those for electricity meters are possible for the natural gas sector . This means that the current gas consumption can be read by suppliers and customers.
Also being considered is the introduction of meters that indicate consumption in kilowatt hours instead of the usual cubic meters. For this, however, bidirectional communication is necessary, as the gas composition (calorific value) can change and this value would have to be updated in real time in the meter (or the conversion electronics).
District heating is another area of application for smart meters.
There are also smart meters for utility and drinking water . These show the current consumption, which in the case of water - in contrast to other networks - primarily serves to quickly identify broken water pipes or taps that have not been turned off, i.e. malfunction monitoring.
Electricity meters are electrical measuring devices per se. Gas, district heating or water meters can be made remotely readable using various methods. Mechanical diaphragm gas meters or impeller meters for water, like electromechanical Ferraris meters, can easily be equipped with an electronic interface and an integrated remote transmission device. Purely mechanical measuring devices or older counters can be retrofitted with a digital readout device that uses optical text recognition to determine the counter reading.
The following options are available for remote data transmission :
- PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network / landline telephony)
- GPRS (General Packet Radio Service / Cellular)
- LAN (Local Area Network / local network)
- PLC (Powerline Communication / data transmission over the power grid) .
- WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS
Transmission techniques are also often combined, e.g. B. Powerline communication in the local area, bundling of the powerline connections via a data concentrator (DCU), cellular data transmission in the long range.
The smart meters are operated via a central system consisting of the following components:
Advanced Meter Management (AMM): System for operating the smart meter, reading out and storing the measured values. Consists of the components
- Head End System (HES): Interface between the central system and smart meters of a certain type
- Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI): Reads the measured values from the smart meters, forwards meter alarms to the NOC and commands to the smart meters
- Meter Data Management (MDM): Saves the readings of the smart meters, checks the measured values and processes them further
- Network Operation Center (NOC): Central network operation, monitors and operates the smart meter network including the communication facilities. The NOC controls the
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Central customer database, coordinates setup and changes to the smart meter network. Consists of the components
- Billing Center : Central accounting, creates customer invoices and tracks receipt of payments
- Customer Contact Center (CCC): Provides interfaces to customers (call center, mail, web interface) and organizes access to the customer's smart meters, if required
Advanced Meter Management (AMM)
Head End System (HES)
The head end system connects the smart meters to the central system and makes it possible to centrally manage and automate the functions of the smart meters. Supported functions are for example:
- Automatic forwarding of measured values (monthly, daily, hourly, every 15 minutes, etc.), readout of the measured values on request
- Forwarding of alarms (phase interrupted, neutral conductor interrupted, undervoltage / overvoltage, harmonic distortion, reversal of energy flow)
- Execution of commands on the smart meters (configuration of the smart meters, tariff changes, changing the measuring intervals, switching the measurements on and off, switching the power connection on and off)
Since smart meters from different manufacturers behave differently, the head-end system must be adapted accordingly for each smart meter type.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
This system processes the measured values and alarms forwarded by the HES and forwards them to the NOC as well as to other components of the central system, such as the MDM . The AMI also checks the measured values, signals missing measured values, detects outliers in the measured values and creates statistics and overviews for the NOC.
The AMI stores alarms from the smart meters and processes them. The AMI also processes commands to the smart meters and their feedback.
Meter Data Management (MDM)
The MDM system contains the central measurement database of the smart meters. The MDM checks the measured values for consistency according to predefined rules, creates statistics on measured values, summarizes measured values according to certain criteria (e.g. area totals), and can estimate a probable value in the event of incorrect or missing measured values.
The measured values collected in the MDM form the main data source for billing by the billing system.
The measured values collected in the MDM are an essential data source for planning by the network operator (consumption planning, load planning, etc.).
Network Operation Center (NOC)
The NOC coordinates the operation of the smart meter network.
The NOC monitors the smart meter measurements, reacts to alarms and missing measured values and organizes repair work if errors occur. For this purpose, not only the own network is considered, but errors in other networks are also analyzed (e.g. if the smart meter measurements fail due to problems in the cellular network). On the basis of the error pattern, the possible cause of an error is sought and targeted repair work is commissioned.
The NOC controls the field technicians who carry out the repair work on site. If there is work to be done at the customer's, an appointment with the customer must be made beforehand via the Customer Contact Center .
Changes to the network and the smart meters are also controlled by the NOC; for this purpose, the NOC receives a work order from the planning department and coordinates the necessary work (remotely via commands or on site via the field technology).
Field engineering is responsible for all work on site, such as installation, maintenance, replacing smart meters at the customer, working on the network. The field technology is controlled by the NOC. The field technicians often receive the installation and repair orders via the Work Order Management System , which forwards the orders via a smartphone app, for example .
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Customer Information System (CIS)
The CIS is the central customer database. It contains all relevant customer data, such as
- Contract information
- Booked tariffs and features
- Billing information
- Contact information (address, telephone number, email)
- Location information (directions, special location information, meter installation location and dates)
- History (tariff change, meter change, error messages)
The CIS is consulted for every customer contact (call center calls, customer orders, troubleshooting) and for all billing-related actions.
All customer-relevant changes are incorporated into the CIS (address change, tariff changes, meter changes).
Work Order Management (WOM)
Work orders are created for all changes made to the network or the smart meters; these are coordinated via the NOC. These include
- Connection of new customers, removal of terminated customers, changes to the customer contract or equipment
- Changes to the network infrastructure or to the network configuration
- Importing commands
All actions on the network are coordinated via the Work Order Management System. If work on site is required, the WOM coordinates the field technicians , delivers the orders, gives them additional information (e.g. more detailed information on the customer) and registers the results of the field technicians (work done, problems on site, customer not there, etc.) . A smartphone is often used here as an aid, which is used to transmit the details of the order to the technician and which he can use to provide feedback. All of this information is recorded and coordinated by the WOM.
The Billing Center coordinates all customer invoices. It creates the customer invoice from the measured smart meter values from the MDM and the customer information from the CIS . The bills are sent to the customer or the money is collected directly from the bank.
The Billing Center tracks the payment of the bills and initiates measures directly in the event of problems with the payment of the bills (reminders, debt collection orders, up to and including blocking the connection).
In addition, taxes, levies, balance sheets and the like are calculated.
Customer Contact Center (CCC)
The customer contact center works in two directions
- Acceptance of customer inquiries, orders and complaints. These are accepted via different channels (telephone, e-mail, website, letter) and result in error messages to the NOC or work files for changing customer data and settings
- Contacting the customer to gain access to the customer's facilities. Customer contact is made through different channels (letter, telephone, email, SMS). If an appointment has been made with the customer, the field technology is assigned accordingly via the Work Order Management System
The customer contact center records the data of all customer contacts and then forwards this information to the NOC or field technology.
Introduction of intelligent meters and legislation
The implementation of the smart metering approach is determined by law on several levels. For the member states of the European Union , these are the EU guidelines and their national laws. Other states operate the approach according to individual national regulations.
In Italy , Sweden , Canada , the USA , Turkey , Australia , New Zealand and the Netherlands , smart meters have already been installed on a large scale or their introduction has been decided. However, this does not mean that the meter markets in all of these countries are open to competition - in countries such as Sweden, for example, electronic electricity meters were made mandatory for all households by the network operator from 2003 to 2009.
In Directive 2006/32 / EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services of April 5, 2006, the European Union decided that in all member states, as far as technically feasible, financially justifiable and in comparison to the potential energy savings, all end customers in the areas of electricity, Natural gas, district heating and / or cooling and domestic hot water should receive individual meters at competitive prices that show the actual energy consumption of the end customer and the actual time of use.
One of the foundations for smart metering is Article 13 of Directive 2006/32 / EC (EDL 2006/32 / EC: “Billing based on actual consumption is carried out so frequently that customers are able to monitor their own energy consumption to control "). The guideline was aimed at promoting the use of bidirectional electronic measuring devices. The inclusion of all those involved in energy generation, transmission and consumption is intended to promote optimal use of the available resources. Another goal was to be able to provide consumers with at least quarterly energy consumption data so that they can find out more quickly than before how high their consumption was.
The second and much more detailed basis is the European Internal Energy Market Directive 2009/72 / EC, which provides for the establishment of smart metering infrastructures in the member states. In this regard, it says in Annex I No. 2:
“Member States ensure that smart metering systems are put in place that support the active participation of consumers in the electricity supply market. The introduction of these measuring systems can be subject to an economic assessment, in which all long-term costs and advantages for the market and the individual consumers are examined, as well as investigating which type of intelligent measuring is economically justifiable and inexpensive and in which time frame the introduction is practically possible . [...] If the introduction of intelligent meters is rated positively, at least 80% of consumers will be equipped with intelligent measuring systems by 2020. "
In June 2014, the EU Commission published a report on the status of work on building smart meter infrastructures in Europe. According to this, 16 member states have decided to roll out 80% smart meters by 2020 (Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain) . An average penetration rate of 95% with smart meters is expected here by 2020. In contrast, three Member States are only planning a selective rollout (Germany, Latvia, Slovakia). Germany aims to equip only around 15% of its connections by 2029. Three member states do not want to carry out a rollout (Belgium, Lithuania and the Czech Republic). For the remaining Member States, the cost-benefit analyzes were either not yet available or were inconclusive.
Counting has been liberalized in Germany since 2005, and measurement was opened for competition in September 2008.
The basis for setting up the smart metering infrastructure in accordance with the specifications of the BSI in Germany is the “cost-benefit analysis for the widespread use of intelligent meters”. It was carried out in accordance with EU specifications based on Directive 2009/72 / EC and Recommendation 2012/148 / EU on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics by Ernst & Young. The study comes to the conclusion that the greatest benefit would arise for the entire economy if every household with an annual electricity consumption of 3,000 kWh or more was equipped with an intelligent metering system. That would be every average German household (annual consumption around 3,500 kWh). Such an economically optimal rollout is not recommended by the authors. It is not to be expected that in average households the costs for BSI-compliant intelligent measurement systems will be covered by corresponding savings. This can only be expected from an annual consumption of 6,000 kWh. Individual customer groups with an annual consumption of less than 6,000 kWh, who could still benefit from the intelligent measuring systems, should be better developed on the market.
In February 2015, the Federal Ministry of Economics presented the “7 key points for the upcoming regulation package Intelligent Networks”. According to this, the already applicable legal requirements are not to be expanded. Customers with an annual consumption of 6,000 to 10,000 kWh will not be equipped with an intelligent measuring system until 2021. This would be the top 10 percent of German households. At the same time, an upper price limit of a maximum of 100 euros per year should apply compared to the current annual cost of around 16 euros for a mechanical meter. With an average electricity price of 28.81 cents per kWh, this would correspond to an increase in the monthly electricity bill from 144 euros to 151 euros for the 10% of households with the highest consumption. There should no longer be an installation obligation for new buildings and renovations.
In addition, EEG and CHP systems with a capacity of 7 kW or more are to be connected via intelligent measuring systems. The focus here is less on use in the household than on the safe and uniform integration of the systems into the energy system. The communication technologies used in many EEG systems had recently shown security gaps.
Legal situation in Germany
In Germany, there were individual regulations on intelligent meters inEnWG. Section 21c EnWG stipulated that metering point operators
- in buildings that are newly connected to the energy supply network or are subject to major renovation [...],
- for final consumers with an annual consumption of more than 6,000 kilowatt hours,
- in the case of plant operators according to the Renewable Energy Sources Act or the Combined Heat and Power Act, for new plants with an installed capacity of more than 7 kilowatts, measuring systems had to be installed that met the requirements of EnWG, insofar as this was technically possible,
- in all other buildings
Had to install measuring systems that met the requirements of § 21d and § 21e EnWG, insofar as this was technically possible and economically justifiable. The precise design should be in a package of regulations.
Since December 30, 2010 at the latest, the end user has to be offered a tariff as far as technically feasible and economically reasonable, which aims to incentivize energy savings (in this case electricity) or to control energy consumption. These “are particularly load-variable tariffs or tariffs that depend on the time of day”; they are usually offered as a two-tariff model (HT / NT). Suppliers are also obliged to always offer a maximum data-saving tariff that is limited to the one-time transmission of the total electricity consumption in the billing period ((5) EnWG).
Another legal basis for the implementation of the smart metering approach was the Measurement Access Ordinance (MessZV). In the liberalized energy market, this ordinance regulates the prerequisites and conditions for metering point operation and the measurement of energy. It was abolished in accordance with Article 5 of the Act on the Digitization of the Energy Turnaround, the matter was included in the Metering Point Operation Act (MsbG).
Due to the high requirements for data protection and data security in the field of intelligent measuring systems, only those intelligent measuring systems will be approved in Germany that meet the requirements of the Federal Office for Information Security for a smart meter gateway ( EnWG / § 19ff. MsbG). The protection profile BSI-CC-PP-0073 corresponds to the security standard Common Criteria EAL4 + AVA_VAN 5 and ALC_FNR.2. The further specifications of the technical guideline BSI TR-03109 are based on this. According to the BSI, a total of 3400 comments from specialist circles have already been submitted on the protection profile and the technical guidelines. The draft of a measurement system regulation, which declares the technical specifications to be binding, passed the EU notification procedure in 2013. Their provisions can now be found in Sections 19 to 28 of the Metering Point Operation Act.
According to Annex 1 No. 2 of the EU Internal Energy Market Directive, Member States must equip 80% of consumers with smart meters if, after carrying out a cost-benefit analysis, they come to the conclusion that the benefits exceed the costs of such a rollout. The economic assessment was carried out by the Federal Ministry of Economics in the form of the cost-benefit analysis ("KNA") submitted by Ernst & Young in July 2013.
Introduction of the Metering Point Operation Act through the Act on the Digitization of the Energy Transition (2016)
In September 2016, the law on the digitization of the energy transition came into force. The meter operation Act contained therein solved besides the regulation in §§ 21c ff EnWG the Metering Access Ordinance from.
According to Section 29 of the Metering Point Operation Act (MsbG), households and other consumers with more than 6,000 kWh / a of electricity consumption and renewable energy and CHP systems from 7 kW output should be equipped with an intelligent metering system as soon as this is technically possible (Section 30 MsbG) and economically is justifiable (§ 31 MsbG) (for comparison: the average consumption of a 3-person household is 3,500 kWh / a; a consumption of 6,000 kWh / a corresponds to a monthly electricity bill of almost € 146 in 2017 ). The technical possibility according to § 30 MsbG requires that at least three companies offer intelligent measurement systems that have been certified by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the BSI determines and announces this (so-called market declaration). At the end of 2017 it became known that not a single intelligent measuring system had yet been certified. The third smart meter gateway was certified on December 19, 2019. The prerequisites for the market declaration are thus met. The BMWi expects this to happen at the beginning of 2020. From then on, consumers will be able to gradually equip consumers with intelligent measuring systems, as provided for in Section 31 MsbG.
With regard to data protection and security, the Measuring Point Operation Act contains extensive regulations in Sections 60–70. The partially alleged possibility of the utilization of data by third parties is explicitly prohibited by law (cf. § 65 MsbG). The possibility of the data being used by third parties was also not part of the cost-benefit calculations by the experts from the Federal Ministry of Economics. The customer can always decide for himself about the use of his data in accordance with § 65 MsbG.
The metering code of the VDE | FNN is a comprehensive standard with which measurement data from the public electricity supply can be recorded and transmitted in a uniform manner. It defines the minimum technical requirements for measuring point operation. The application rule for electricity metering - Metering Code (E VDE-AR-N 4400), which has been in effect since 2011, was revised in preparation for the rollout of intelligent metering systems. In particular, the smart meter gateway as a communication unit then plays a central role. The Metering Code contains standards for the correct preparation of measurement data before it is forwarded to the respective market partner. In addition, the regulatory framework for intelligent measuring systems, which has been further developed in recent years, is taken into account (new Measuring and Verification Ordinance (2015), the Measuring Point Operation Act (MsbG 2016) and the Federal Network Agency's interim model (2017) for handling market processes via the intelligent measuring system). The new application rule for electricity metering - Metering Code implements this interim model from the Federal Network Agency.
Intelligent meters are currently being tested across Germany in pilot projects at energy providers, e. B. at acteno , E.ON , EnBW , Vattenfall and also RWE . Yello Strom and Discovergy, as well as star.Energiewerke, are the only providers to date to offer this meter throughout Germany.
In 2008 Stadtwerke Haßfurt GmbH in Haßfurt started the first nationwide market launch of digital meters from EVB Energy Solutions GmbH. The introduction of 10,000 smart meters was completed at the end of 2010.
Since 2016, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been supporting innovative pilot projects to save power-related energies such as electricity, gas, heating and cooling as part of the Einsparzähler pilot program. Applicants who want to test, demonstrate and introduce this to the market on the basis of various IT technologies and in various sectors and user groups are specifically funded. The funding announcement was published in the Federal Gazette on May 20, 2016 in the Federal Gazette. The companies Discovergy are pursuing their first projects for private and commercial customers as well as mostlyro specifically for commercial customers.
For the measuring location (i.e. the place where energy is measured) it is possible according to § 14 MsbG that measuring devices in the energy industry (e.g. electricity meters, gas meters) can be installed and operated by independent third-party metering point operators. This change is free. The political goal is to create a free market for metering and thus also for smart meter gateway administration, which should lead to lower metering fees in the interests of the customer. The metering point operator has to conclude a metering point operator contract with the network operator, in which, among other things, the following is regulated:
- Description of the processes when changing meters (e.g. deadlines, commissioning);
- Requirements for the metering point operator (including registration with the calibration office, mastery of the technology for meter installation);
- technical requirements for the measuring device.
The Management Premium Ordinance (MaPrV), which came into force on November 8, 2012, stated that operators of systems for the generation of regenerative energy from solar radiation and wind energy must equip the systems with remote control from January 1, 2013 in order to receive the increased management premium ( MaPrV ). This serves to better integrate fluctuating energy sources in the market. According to the Management Premium Ordinance, "[...] the actual feed-in must be called up and the remote-controlled reduction of the feed-in power according to Paragraph 1 must take place via the measuring system [...]" (Section 3 MaPrV Paragraph 3). The metering point operator takes care of another area.
The meter operator receives a monthly fee for setting up and operating the metering system. He can collect this either directly from the customer or, if so agreed, from his energy supplier. The metering fee is not paid to the network operator if a metering point operator is commissioned. A metering service provider is a subcontractor of the metering point operator and takes on parts of its range of tasks. The metering service provider appears under the name of the metering point operator, but does not own the meter.
Data protection model in the Measuring Point Operation Act
The German model for data protection stipulates that the continuous transmission of consumption data is only carried out for higher consumers as required. Consumption data is stored in the device for 15 minutes, § 55 MsbG. The actors of the energy system are only granted access to individual data stored there for certain legally defined purposes, §§ 60ff. MsbG. The customer, on the other hand, must always be able to see all of his data, § 61 MsbG. In addition, the customer can decide himself to whom he gives access to his data, § 65 No. 1 MsbG.
The personal data to which suppliers and network operators have standard access is described in Section 60 (3) MsbG. The access rights differ depending on the customer's annual electricity consumption. Stricter regulations apply to customers with less than 10,000 kWh of electricity, because this can also include household customers. The law assumes that there are hardly any household customers with more than 10,000 kWh of annual consumption. An annual consumption of 10,000 kWh would roughly correspond to an apartment with electric heating, a single-family house with heat pump heating or a 10-person household.
For customers with an annual consumption of less than 10,000 kWh (corresponds to a monthly electricity bill of less than 250 euros), the network operator and supplier may only query so-called annual energy values once a year. That is a value, namely the total consumption for a year. They do not have access to the 15-minute values or other data. The data is transmitted via an encrypted and integrity-assured channel, Section 50 (1) and explanations on Section 2, No. 26 MsbG. They must be pseudonymized or anonymized as soon as possible, Section 52 (3) MsbG. They must be deleted as soon as storage is no longer necessary, Section 66 Paragraph 3 MsbG. This applies to all customer groups. In addition, household customers can always choose a data-saving tariff in accordance with Section 40 (5) EnWG. According to the law, "data recording and transmission is limited to reporting the total amount of electricity consumed within a certain period of time".
For customers with more than 10,000 kWh of annual electricity consumption (corresponds to a monthly electricity bill of more than 250 euros), the 15-minute values from the previous day are sent to the supplier and the network operator every day, Section 60 (3) MsbG. If the customer is a household customer, it seems unclear whether he or she can also choose the data-saving tariff according to Section 40 (5) EnWG, so that "data recording and transmission is limited to reporting the total amount of electricity consumed within a certain period of time."
For customers with more than 20,000 kWh (corresponds to a monthly electricity bill of more than 500 euros), 15-minute values are also sent. In addition, the network operator can only query so-called network status data from these metering points and from EEG, CHP and Section 14a systems, Section 56 MsbG. According to § 2 No. 16 MsbG, network status data are voltage and current values and phase angles.
In Sections 66 to 70 of the MsbG, the law finally lists the purposes for which network operators, suppliers and balancing group managers may use the data provided by the intelligent metering system. They are allowed to use them to create essentially correct bills, plan the expansion of their network, interact with participants in statutory flexibility mechanisms and create feed-in forecasts for renewable energies. The data must be deleted as soon as they are no longer required for these purposes (in each case paragraph 3 of the individual regulations). Using the data for other purposes without the customer's consent is prohibited, Section 70 MsbG. In addition, the data may not be confiscated according to other regulations - for example by the police or other agencies, Section 49 (1) MsBG.
Each network operator has 10% by the end of 2015, at least 70% by the end of 2017, and at least 95% of all metering points connected to its network by the end of 2019 as - according to § 7 Electricity Industry and Organization Act (ElWOG 2010) and the Intelligent Meter Requirements Ordinance ( IMA-VO 2011) - equip appropriate meters. The basis for this requirement is the study commissioned by the network regulatory authority e-Control to analyze the cost-benefit of an Austria-wide introduction of smart metering .
Due to data protection concerns, the legal option was created in 2013 to refuse the installation of a smart meter (opt-out option). It was assumed that the number of objectors would remain below 5%, otherwise the legal framework will be adjusted.
There are also first approaches in the water and gas network, so some local suppliers are already offering the option of having intelligent meters installed voluntarily. The legal framework for this has not yet been developed.
Smart meters are an integral part of the Energy Strategy 2050 .
Remote reading and variable billing models
An intelligent meter not only reports consumption to the supplier on a regular basis, but also provides additional data. The supplier can also issue a shorter-term (approximately monthly) invoice. The customer can gain financial benefits through intelligent power consumption , e.g. B. obtained by shifting loads in off-peak times with cheaper tariffs. See also: load control
Shorter reading intervals would allow the end customer tariff to be linked to the development of the electricity price on the exchange. In Sweden, 42% of household customers already received such a variable tariff in 2014. In Germany, on the other hand, only one provider has so far offered a nationwide tariff with monthly price adjustments. Consumer advocates in this country criticize the failure to pass on lower stock exchange prices to consumers. In the UK, the utility British Gas is offering smart meter customers a tariff where electricity is free on Sundays. The Texan utility TXU Energy also gives away its electricity on windy nights.
Remote switching and remote shutdown
With intelligent measuring systems, remote switching functions are possible in principle, with which individual devices of the consumer can be switched by the supplier. In the draft of the Smart Meter Gateway, the CLS interface is provided to which consumers or producers can be connected. A control signal is then passed on via the meter to the devices of the connection user for control ( load manager ) . In this case, this device can be controlled by the network operator or other service providers.
An interruption of the supply by remote shutdown, for example as a sanction measure for a defaulting payer, is not easily possible. The electronic meter alone does not offer any technical means of interrupting the electricity from a distance. This requires a contactor called a “breaker”, “disconnection device” or “remote off” , which is either built into the meter or installed as an additional component in the main circuit. To avoid accidents or damage caused by electrical devices, there is no remotely controlled restart. Instead, an enable signal is sent to the meter. It is then switched on again by the customer pressing a button.
In Germany, intelligent measuring systems (made up of an electronic meter and a smart meter gateway) are largely used without the option of a complete shutdown. The BSI specification of the Smart Meter Gateway does not provide for the option to switch the entire connection remotely.
Electronic electricity meters with remote control and data transmission are more expensive than conventional meters.
Consumers and consumer organizations have massively criticized the introduction of the new meter technology.
- In the price comparisons by the authorities, only the savings in the energy price were taken into account and compared with the more expensive measurement costs. This is presented as balanced, but the considerations have forgotten that after the nationwide introduction of the new market, customers will be offered peak load energy for certain tariff periods, which is several times more expensive.
- It is claimed that entire population groups, who are more likely to belong to the socially disadvantaged classes, are disadvantaged.
- It is feared that these intelligent meters could interrupt the supply by means of remote shutdown and that the possibility could also be misused by third parties.
- Opponents fear that consumption data could be used to analyze lifestyle habits.
- It is criticized that the new meter technology was only introduced by lobbying organizations in order to offer the electronics and telecommunications industries with overpriced products legally prescribed sales markets.
- It is sometimes recommended to postpone the introduction of smart meters until they have been introduced in non-European countries and prices are roughly at the level of the current cheap counters.
In March 2017, a study by employees of the University of Twente, the Amsterdam University of Applied Science and the company Thales Nederland became known in which measurement errors of between -32% and +582% compared to a comparator device in several electronic meters built between 2007 and 2014 underlying electromechanical Ferraris meters were found. The deviations were observed with non-linear loads such as dimmed lights. Possible causes are the reaction of the conducted high-frequency interference radiation of these loads on the meter, high rates of rise of the currents and the deviations of the current from a sinusoidal time curve.
When calibrating the electronic meters, however, only linear loads and sinusoidal currents are used, so that these measurement errors do not occur there. In addition, the details of the measuring process in electronic meters are implemented in software of a signal processor and are usually a company secret. For this reason, consumer advocates and network operators in the Netherlands are calling for a comprehensive inspection of all smart meters.
In Germany, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt has been working on improving the test requirements for electricity meters since 2007. In a statement on the study by the University of Twente, it was stated that after a standardization gap between 2 and 150 kHz has been closed, "the legally prescribed traffic error limits are not exceeded for the meters used and intended for use in Germany over a billing period". Nevertheless, the problem is taken seriously and will, among other things, support the calibration authorities in their activities. The introduction of modern measuring devices and intelligent measuring systems is not endangered according to the assessment of PTB, the counter designs provided for this are devices that were developed by the manufacturers after the problem of standardization gaps had been eliminated. Before a decision on a further tightening of the requirements should be awaited for the publication of further details on the validity of the measurement methods used and the relevance of the curve shapes generated for the investigations for everyday operation by the University of Twente.
Increase in costs for private households
The cost-benefit analysis carried out by the auditing firm Ernst & Young on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy comes to the conclusion that no costs can be saved in average households with intelligent meters. Thereafter, the costs significantly exceed the potential savings. An installation obligation is assessed as unreasonable.
Australian consumers and consumer organizations criticize the fact that the introduction of smart metering will massively increase electricity costs. In particular, poor, elderly people and families are disadvantaged, as they have to completely change the course of the day in order to be able to purchase electricity in times of low electricity prices - e. B. the washing machine and dishwasher - to relocate. The electricity price on the day is then z. B. four times as high as at night. Changing the daily routine and thus the electricity supply is much easier for younger people and childless people, and thus the system is a new form of social injustice towards families and the elderly. In Germany, on the other hand, due to the high solar feed-in, prices are regularly lowest on Sunday afternoons, sometimes even negative.
According to the publication of the Austrian consumer organization, the introduction of the system can save a maximum of 23 euros per household and year, according to the regulator, although the estimates of the energy suppliers only indicate 12 euros; on the other hand, there are costs for the smart meter system of between 200 and 300 euros. In another study, the additional costs of 43 euros per metering point are given by the Association of Austrian Electricity Suppliers and it is stated that the introduction does not make sense based on purely economic criteria.
Data protection plays an important role in the use of smart meters, because the detailed recording of electricity consumption data can enable conclusions to be drawn about the life cycle of citizens. In addition to aspects of encryption, the discussions therefore regularly revolve around which data is stored, where it is stored and who has access to the data. Data protection takes a different form depending on the country. On one side of the spectrum there is the very strict and detailed German approach. On the other hand, there is the US approach, in which high-resolution data is continuously sent to the network operator and stored there. In the course of the Green Button Initiative, citizens in the USA are also to be given access to their detailed electricity consumption data.
Critics believe that the protection of privacy is questionable because there is a risk that the customer will become a “ transparent customer ” if consumption profiles are transferred to the electricity supplier. The collection and improper evaluation of consumption data allowed extensive conclusions to be drawn about the lifestyle of customers . In extreme cases, even the television program consumed can be identified from the data on power consumption. The power consumption of some televisions varies with the brightness of the picture. If the temporal sequence of light-dark phases in a film is known, this signature can be correlated with the consumption curve. To recognize the television program, a film generated for test purposes was used and a measurement interval of 2 seconds was used. A study found that this is not feasible with all TV sets.
The European Data Protection Supervisor pointed out problems in June 2012. The EU Commission should examine how an adequate level of data protection can be guaranteed when introducing intelligent measurement systems. The EU Commissioner is responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship .
For this reason, in the German model, for example, the detailed consumption data should not regularly be transmitted to the network operator. Wherever possible, they should remain in the intelligent measuring system. A tariff, d. H. the assignment of power consumption values to tariff levels for the purpose of creating an invoice should primarily take place in the smart meter gateway (“decentralized tariffing”). The network operator does not have to have detailed consumption data in order to bill according to different tariffs - he only has to switch the meter's tariff.
A transmission of detailed consumption values only takes place if a special tariff is modified so frequently that a quarter-hourly measurement is necessary ("Meter reading profile measurement" / "Tariff application case 7"). That would be the case, for example, if the tariff was adapted to the hourly changing exchange price of the EEX .
Due to the higher accuracy, the risk of misuse of consumer-related data increases. Although high accuracy enables a better basis for dynamic load balancing in the smart grid , this is done at the expense of data protection. The tendency is z. Currently in the direction of reducing the reading intervals, i.e. H. to higher accuracy. For this reason, in accordance with Section 40 (5) sentence 2 EnWG, a tariff must always be offered that is limited to the transmission of only one meter value for submitting a monthly invoice. A dynamic adjustment of the reading intervals could help to find a balance between reading accuracy and avoidance of the transparent citizen.
A reading of the data collected by the consumer was not always provided. In the new architecture according to the BSI protection profile, the user must always be able to see his data and its use.
A critical point, especially when it comes to networking different supply systems (electricity, water, heat) using intelligent meters, is the question of the possible bundling of different suppliers. In addition to standardization and the increase in interface and output technologies, which make it easier to concentrate the entire supply with a single provider, the question of the transfer of measurement data from the metering point operator or smart meter gateway administrator to the market roles authorized to handle data is on the topic: With the intelligent metering systems the Smart Meter Gateway Administrator is increasingly becoming a communication service provider in the infrastructure supply and intelligent living sector .
Exposure to electronic attacks
Another problem with the intelligent power grid is the threat posed by electronic attacks, including a blackout and a sudden power failure in large power grids. (In the techno thriller Blackout - Tomorrow is too late , Marc Elsberg describes such a scenario in literary terms.) While it is assumed that the utilities' central control and data storage systems are protected according to the state of the art, the smart meters are additional local points of attack in great numbers. Their security depends on the quality provided by the device manufacturer.
In 2010 there was still a low level of security against hacker attacks. Today's intelligent measuring systems must have their own safety module.
In Austria, the Cyber Security Austria Association - Association for the Promotion of IT Security in Austria's Strategic Infrastructure - deals particularly critically with this topic. Among other things, an analysis of Smart Metering - Impact on National Security is provided, in which significant risks are identified.
Economic cost distribution and supply efficiency
A study carried out by the German Energy Agency (dena) together with a team of consultants from Deloitte , TU Dortmund University and Jacobs University Bremen examined u. a. the costs and influencing factors of the rollout of intelligent meters and intelligent measuring systems. In the dena Smart Meter study, two scenarios are considered: the update of the currently valid legal framework and an analysis based on the “Rollout Scenario Plus” recommended by the BMWi . According to dena's calculations, the cost of equipping one million measuring points is between 467 and 837 million euros, but the introduction of smart meters can reduce the investments required for network expansion by up to 36 percent by 2030.
The distribution network study by the BMWi comes to the conclusion that the necessary expansion of the distribution network can be reduced from at least 131,000 km to 57,000 km through the communication and regulation of EEG systems in conjunction with controllable local network transformers . The costs for the distribution network expansion financed by the network charges would be reduced from 1.8 billion euros to 1.4 billion euros annually. Technically, the devices can also transmit other consumption values that arise in the household, such as heating or gas consumption, etc. via the smart meter gateway, so that a separate reading in the house with the corresponding costs is superfluous.
By using intelligent measuring systems, the prognosis, billing and balancing processes of the energy system can be designed more efficiently. Today these are still based in many cases on estimates, so-called standard load and standard feed-in profiles . All customers bear the costs for their inaccuracy via the network charges.
The offer of two tariffs - one for the daytime, one for the night - makes it possible to shift peak loads in private consumption. At the same time, however, the price structure in wholesaling changes with increasing feed-in from renewable energies. Unlike in the past, the night hours are no longer the hours of low prices, but rather the more difficult to plan hours with high wind and solar feed-in and low demand, especially on weekends.
A standardization study published in June 2019 came to the conclusion that the potential of digitization can only develop through a specification of Section 14a EnWG (flexibility legislation) and regulatory cost recognition of the network-related services of the metering point operator responsible.
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