EU legislates smart meters for all citizens by 2022 - 12 May 2009

Most of Europe's householders have minimal interaction with their electricity providers. In the UK, for example, it is normal for people to receive three estimated quarterly bills: only once a year is the meter read, and the bill then adjusted to reflect actual use. By this process the utilities save on labour costs, but householders have only a general idea of their overall electricity use, and none at all in real-time, or with a break-down on usage by individual applications.

This is set to change. Smart metering systems - becoming increasingly common across Europe - will be required in all buildings by 2022 following two recent votes in the European Parliament which approved a package of legislation to liberalise EU energy markets and enforce a number of Electricity and Gas Directives. These require 80% of consumers to be equipped with smart meters by 2020, and 100% by 2022. The European Parliament also approved the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which requires all new buildings and renovations to use smart meters.

The legislation is in line with increasingly stringent EC rules on energy conservation and the requirement for Member States to procure a greater proportion of their energy needs from renewable sources.

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