Smart Metering in Germany - 18 Aug 2009

A number of smart meter trials are underway in Germany, usually small-scale and involving a group of houses or apartment blocks. Often, power is sourced from gas and photovoltaic (PV) systems, monitored remotely and controlled by an energy management system (EMS). The EMS automatically contacts residents via SMS or email to suggest using appliances such as washing machines within a specific time frame based on high energy yield from the PV systems. Smart metering projects across the country were given a financial boost in January 2009 in the form of a slice of the €100 million set aside from the government's second stimulus package (Package II).

Germany has also been among the first nations in Europe to address a key issue which should streamline smart metering projects: how to tie-in the infrastructures of telecom operators and utilities. This has been a focus for Deutsche Telekom's model T-City, Friedrichshafen, which won a national competition in 2007 in which the city has become the focus for a range of new communications and convergence schemes. Among them is a smart metering trial involving T-Systems, Alcatel-Lucent and the local energy provider. Around 700 homes have been equipped with metering systems that can measure real-time energy consumption, enabling greater control and planning of energy supply.

The energy provider EDF has now also launched an innovative trial in which customers are offered a Digital TV receiver with built in PVR and hub which sends data on electricity use to EDF over the GSM network. The digital receiver also has a menu which allows customers to monitor their energy use, saving on the cost of separate monitoring units.

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