Background

The CRU has tasked ESB Networks with the roll-out of the National Smart Metering Programme (NSMP), which involves replacing all existing electricity meters with Smart Enabled Meters. The roll out programme will be delivered in a phased approach, commencing with an initial delivery of 250,000 meters in 2019 - 2020, and approximately 500,000 meters in each of the 4 subsequent years.

Ireland’s smart meter upgrade programme will ensure that consumers and businesses are provided with the next generation of electricity meters that are being rolled out across Europe and internationally. This new technology will replace older meters and will make available new products and services bringing benefits to Irish consumers, the economy and the environment.

Smart meters will make the supplier switching process easier and empower consumers to make a more informed choice for their energy needs. Smart metering will also enable the development of the smart grid and facilitate more flexible, reliable and better network planning.

Benefits

Smart meters are the next generation of digital electricity meter that will bring many benefits to the customer, the economy and the environment.
Currently, your electricity meter is manually read by ESB Networks up to four times per year. Smart Meters are able to record your consumption more frequently and automatically send your meter readings to ESB Networks.

  • As the meters are read automatically estimated bills will be a thing of the past.
  • You will have access to more information allowing you to manage your electricity usage and make more informed choices.
  • We anticipate that by 2021 new products and services will enable you to shift some of your consumption to off peak times of day when electricity is cheaper.
  • In the future, functionality within the meter will allow ESB Networks to find faults quicker and manage the safety of your meter more efficiently.
  • Smart meters will support the migration towards a carbon free electricity network and will enable smart grids, e-cars, local renewable generation and microgeneration.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are the next generation of electricity meters. Using digital technology, the meters give you and your supplier accurate information on energy usage throughout the day.

Smart meters are being rolled out across Europe and internationally and by 2020 it is expected that over 700 million will be installed globally

Why are all meters being replaced?

  • Smart meters are the next generation electricity meters and will replace older mechanical meters. When fully operational, smart meters will bring benefits to the consumer, the environment and the economy.
  • With smart meters, there will be no need for estimated bills. You will be able to access the information you need to make more informed choices about your consumption and tariffs . Accurate information about energy usage across the day will allow you to manage your bills with greater accuracy.
  • The environment will benefit because smart metering will encourage energy efficiency and support an increase in renewable power on the electricity system. The upgrade programme will help to cut CO2 emissions and lower Ireland’s costly reliance on fossil fuel imports.
  • The economy will benefit because using smart meters will help us to more efficiently manage energy flow at times of high demand. They will also enhance competition and improve consumer experience, customer choice and the range of products and services available.

Who will carry out the replacement work?

The meter replacement will be carried out by ESB Networks or a company working on behalf of ESB Networks

When will the replacement programme be completed?

Starting in the autumn of 2019, our plan is to replace 250,000 meters between autumn 2019 and the end of 2020 and a further 500,000 meters every year from 2021 to 2024.

What are smart electricity services?

Smart meters can give you accurate and regular information on your electricity usage and ensure no estimated bills. They can help you make more informed choices about your consumption and enable new ways to save money by shifting some of your electricity consumption to (off peak) times of the day when energy is cheaper.

How much is this programme costing?

  • The replacement of over 2 million electricity meters with the next generation electricity meter over a six-year period will cost some €1.2bn.
  • Like other infrastructure upgrades, the cost of the meter upgrade will be recouped over time in charges paid for use of the electricity network and so there is no upfront charge to have a smart meter installed.
  • The Commission for Regulation of Utilities has done extensive analysis of the plan and is satisfied that the investment involved represents value for money.

When will I get a smart meter?

  • The replacement programme will start in autumn 2019 and continue until the end of 2024. We will carry out this work on an area by area basis and a detailed rollout plan is currently being developed.
  • While the initial focus will be on the oldest meters, we intend to include an option for customers to apply through your electricity supplier or ESB Networks for a prioritised installation of a smart meter
  • We will give everyone plenty of notice about when we are coming to your area to replace meters.

Can I request an early meter upgrade?

  • While it is likely that the initial focus will be on the oldest meters that are due for replacement, we intend to include an option for you to apply to your electricity supplier or ESB Networks for a prioritised installation of a smart meter.
  • More information on this option will be made available when the roll-out plan is developed

What benefit will I get from a smart meter?

  • When smart meters are fully operational, you will have a choice to be provided with more accurate information about energy usage across the day to allow you to better manage your bills with greater accuracy than at present. This information can also help you to make more informed choices about your consumption and tariff.
  • Currently, your electricity meter is manually read by ESB Networks up to four times per year. Smart Meters are able to automatically send your meter readings to ESB Networks. So with smart meters, there will be no need for estimated bills.
  • We anticipate that by 2021 new products and services will enable you to shift some of your consumption to off peak times of the day when electricity is cheaper.

Do I have to pay for the new meter?

There will be no upfront charge to have a smart meter installed. Like other meter upgrades, the cost of the meter will be recouped over time in charges paid for use of the electricity network infrastructure.

Is my meter data safe?

Yes. Protecting the privacy and security of customer information is core to the replacement programme. There are very clear rules under data protection legislation to protect consumers and ESB Networks and all other stakeholders work closely with the Data Protection Commissioner. ESB Networks complies fully with the requirements of GDPR legislation.

Are the new meters a risk to my health?

  • ESB Networks have a total commitment to your health and safety. The upgraded smart meters will be safe and will comply with all necessary requirements and international standards.
  • Health authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have assessed the scientific evidence and there are no established health effects associated with smart meters.