Picture: A man examining a smart meter

Smart Metering: An Important Step Towards the Future and a Cornerstone for the Efficient Use of Electricity and Gas

More transparency, more efficiency, more accessibility for customers: a new age of metering has dawned. Smart meters offer a wealth of possibilities to provide information about current energy usage.

The smart meter is a digital device which can be read remotely and allows customers to check their own energy consumption at any time. This helps them to control their usage better and to identify concrete ways to save energy. Every customer can access their own consumption data online in graphic form displayed in quarter-hour intervals. There is also a great deal of additional information, such as energy saving tips. Similarly, measurements can be made using a digital display in the home in real time and the current usage viewed.

Smart meters on the rise globally

E.ON has already gained a lot of experience with the smart meter technology in numerous international projects. It will soon install 1.8 million smart meters across Europe. A million smart meters are already in use in Sweden and around 752,000 more will be fitted in Spain by 2014. The new generation of meters is not yet compulsory in Germany, but even so, 80 percent of all households should be equipped with the technology by 2022. 10,000 homes have already been fitted with a smart meter in the E.ON Bayern region as part of a pilot project, making E.ON one of the European leaders in this promising technology.

Initial experiences show that being aware of energy usage can reduce electricity costs by five to ten percent. As well as that, "energy guzzlers", such as certain household devices, can be quickly identified.

By participating in the pilot schemes, E.ON customers had the chance to be part of the development of the metering technology and to provide active support for E.ON in the creation of new offers for customers. These could include more flexible tariffs with lower-priced energy depending on how much flexibility the customer allows the energy supplier. After all, it makes no difference to the driver of an electric car at what time of night the car is charged, as long as it is ready to go with a full battery in the morning.