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Smart Meter Upgrade

Introducing Ireland to
Smart Metering

ESB Networks will be upgrading Ireland’s electricity meters with next generation smart meters. This upgrade is scheduled to commence in Autumn 2019 and ESB Networks will provide notice to Energia customers prior to coming to your area.

Find out more

Key Information

The rollout will be phased over the next few years with ESB Networks planning to deliver 250,000 new meters by the end of 2020.

The goal is that from 2021, smart meters will give customers access to more accurate and regular information on their electricity usage. Estimated meter readings will no longer be used, meaning bills will not be estimated.

Positively, smart meters will support the move to a carbon free electricity network - enabling smart grids, e-vehicles, local renewable generation and microgeneration.

Background

In September 2017 the CRU (Commission for Regulation of Utilities) announced the details of the delivery plan for the introduction of smart meters to Irish homes and businesses. The CRU has tasked ESB Networks with the roll-out of the National Smart Metering Programme (NSMP), which requires the replacement of 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 following 4 years.

Benefits

Not only will smart meters benefit our customers, they will also be beneficial to the economy and the environment. Currently, all energy suppliers’ customers’ electricity meters are manually read by ESB Networks up to four times per year. Smart Meters will be 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 no more.
  • You will have access to more information allowing you to manage your electricity consumption and make more informed choices.
  • ESB Networks anticipate that by 2021 new products and services will allow you to shift some of your consumption to off peak times of day when electricity is cheaper.
  • Also in the pipeline, plans will see functionality within the meter will allow ESB Networks to find faults faster, making your meter safer and more efficient to manage.
  • Smart meters will support Ireland’s migration towards a carbon free electricity network and will enable the implementation of further technology advancements such as smart grids, e-cars, local renewable generation and microgeneration.

FAQs

Smart meters are a part of our future. They are the next generation of electricity meters. Using digital technology, the meters will give you, our customers, more precise 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.


Meters are being replaced to future proof Irish homes and provide multiple benefits.
 

For the consumer

Smart meters will replace older mechanical meters. When fully functioning, 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. In summary, smart meters will improve consumer experience, customer choice and the range of products and services available to our customers.
 

For the environment

 

The environment will benefit because smart metering will encourage energy efficiency, enabling an increase in renewable power on the electricity system. The upgrade programme will help to reduce CO2 emissions thus lowering Ireland’s costly dependency on fossil fuel imports.

 

For the economy

 
The economy will benefit because using smart meters will help us to more efficiently manage energy flow during periods of high demand.

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

Starting in the autumn of 2019, ESB Network’s 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.

The replacement programme will start in autumn 2019 and continue until the end of 2024. ESB Networks will carry out this work on an area by area basis. Customers will be notified in advance by ESB Networks when they are in their area and commencing meter installation. ESB Networks have ensured that they will give everyone plenty of notice.

While the initial focus will be on the oldest meters, customers will also have the option to apply directly through Energia or ESB Networks for a prioritised installation of a smart meter.

Yes you can. We will be providing more information on an Early Adopters Registration process closer to September 2019.

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 remotely send your meter readings to ESB Networks. So with smart meters, there will be no need for estimated bills.

At this stage your new meter is recording your electricity usage but the meter is not set up to communicate remotely, so no data is being sent from the meter. Your meter will continue to be read by our meter readers until we begin remote reading in 2021.

During 2020, ESB Networks will start to build their new communication network. With this upgrade, your meter will start to connect to ESB Networks secure 2G network provided by Three Ireland Limited.  A minimal amount of data will flow from your meter to prove the communication network ahead of the planned go-live in 2021.

For more information, please refer to ESB Networks.

All data collected from the meter is encrypted and will be securely stored in a central Meter Data Management System (MDMS) operated by ESB Networks. ESB Networks ensures that they are compliant with their data protection obligations and that all personal customer data is safe and secure. 

ESB Networks confirm this information on their own website here.

Unlike traditional meters which record your electricity consumption and which were read every two months, when fully operational your smart meter will send details of your electricity consumption every day and reduce the need for estimated bills.

Each day, normally around midnight and via a secure 2G mobile network, your meter will send ESB Networks the total amount of electricity consumed over the previous 24 hour period. This reading will be used to provide information to support customer billing, customers switching suppliers and moving premises.

The meter will also records a more detailed breakdown of the electricity consumed in up to 30 minute periods. However, this information will only leave your home if you request this Energia or if you're not an Energia customer, through your own supplier.

In order to ensure the meter is working properly, the meter will also occasionally send ESB Networks diagnostic information about the meter itself.

When activated, the smart meter will communicate remotely with ESB Networks over a secure 2G network using technology like that used to send text messages. Your meter will create the equivalent of an encrypted text message and send it to an IT system called a Head End System (HES). This data is then stored securely in a central Meter Data Management System (MDMS) managed and operated by ESB Networks.

Each day, normally around midnight and via a secure 2G mobile network, your meter will send ESB Networks the total amount of electricity consumed over the previous 24 hour period. Each smart meter will activate itself approximately every two hours to check its integrity and connection to the network, if it finds any problems it will create another encrypted text message and send it to us.

This information has been extracted from ESB Networks and more can be found here.

Between now and January 2021, ESB Networks will be building IT systems and a new operations centre, all necessary to support the launch of new smart services from electricity supply companies.  As explained below, we will be building more functionality as the project progresses.

 

September 2019 – Meter installation commences

Once installed, your new smart meter will begin to record details of your total electricity consumption every day. The meter will also record a more detailed breakdown of the electricity consumed in up to 30 minute periods.  However, this more detailed information will only leave your home if you request this to happen through your Energy supplier. If you are an Energia customer, you must make this request directly with us, from 2021 onwards.

Initially the SIM card within the smart meter will be disabled and therefore no data will be sent from your new meter. Your new meter will continue to be manually read up to four times a year by a meter reader for billing purposes.
 

Commencing operation and management of meters

During 2020, ESB Networks will commence connecting new meters to our secure 2G network operated by Three Ireland Ltd.  At this point your smart meter will send ESB Networks details of the energy consumed since the meter was installed as well as other non-personal data about the functioning of meter itself, no other data will be collected. Data will be collected for the following purposes:
 

  • Establish and prove ESB Network’s new Smart Meter Operations Centre
  • Establish meter security and cyber security functions
  • Establish meter diagnostic functions including monitoring for meter tampering
  • Proving the robustness of the communications network to improve its performance as necessary
  • Establish and monitor the regularity of communications for each meter point to determine the types of smart services that can be delivered to customers.
 

The meter readings taken at this stage will not be used for billing and will not be shared with Energia or your other electricity supplier if you are not an Energia customer.  A meter reader will continue to call to your home to read the meter manually.
 

From January 2021 – Remote meter reading

From January 2021, ESB Networks will commence remote reading of meters which will significantly reduce the need to use estimates for billing purposes. The meter readings collected will be shared with Energia or your other eletricity supplier if you are not an Energia customer. This will allow us to prepare an accurate bill as they do today. There may still be occasions when remote meter readings are not able to be captured which could result in an estimated bill.

Also in 2021, Energia will start to offer new products, energy services and tariffs. If you agree a new tariff with us then your smart meter will send the necessary usage data. You can change your preference by getting in contact with Energia directly when smart services become available.

Remote meter readings will also be used to improve the final reading and billing process for those customers who change suppliers or move premises.

This information has been extracted from ESB Networks and more can be found here.

Would you like to find out more about smart meters?

ESB Networks have a comprehensive set of FAQs and information over on their website which we recommend you to read.