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Guest article | EY: Smart energy meters to provide valuable “gateway” to the home

By 2020, there will be an estimated one billion smart meters in consumers’ homes around the world, able to give live feedback on energy use. These smart meters will “talk” directly to utility companies, providing them with a gateway to a wealth of valuable data.

Adlai Goldberg, Partner, Advisory, EY Switzerland

Adlai Goldberg, Partner, Advisory, EY Switzerland

In a workshop on smart energy, EY’s Adlai Goldberg and Alain Bollack debated what the implications are for both industry and the consumer. “As a consumer, when you have live data on your energy consumption, you’ll be able to see how much you’re spending and change your habits or take steps such as insulating your house,” said Bollack. “Smart meters will also make it easier to switch providers.”

He said the home is the last space where there is a battle for control; once people get used to the smart meter, they will add more and more devices and want to control them remotely from their phone or tablet – generating a goldmine of data. “The question is, who gets control of that gateway – will it be utility companies, telecoms companies or entertainment and games companies?” asked Goldberg. “Will it be a large player or a new entrant to the market who comes up with a brilliant innovation?”

Smart meters are becoming widely accepted in many parts of the world. China already has 150m installed and Africa is starting to roll them out, bypassing traditional metering methods. The motivation is to collect cash from consumers because, at the moment, many individuals steal electricity by “hooking up” to power lines. “If you put prepay smart meters in place, energy companies can reassure investors that the end user is paying,” said Bollack. “This in turn helps secure investments that can be ploughed into large infrastructure projects such as building electricity generation and giving wider access to electricity.”

Smart metering creates enormous potential to transform utility businesses. Companies such as EY can help the industry design effective programs, with communications that are secure against hacking, and advise on the ever-changing and more stringent regulatory environment around privacy and data protection.

The consumer would be required to consent to data gathering – either by opting in or opting out. An incentive for them to opt in would be the lure of lower energy prices – plus the ability to understand and take responsibility for their energy consumption.


For more information please also visit the EY CODE_n insights page.

4 Comments on Guest article | EY: Smart energy meters to provide valuable “gateway” to the home

  • It is easy to recognise the environmental advantages of utilising the alternative and renewable forms of energy but we must also be aware of the disadvantages.One disadvantage with renewable energy is that it is difficult to generate the quantities of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil fuel generators. This may mean that we need to reduce the amount of energy we use or simply build more energy facilities. It also indicates that the best solution to our energy problems may be to have a balance of many different power sources.Another disadvantage of renewable energy sources is the reliability of supply. Renewable energy often relies on the weather for its source of power. Hydro generators need rain to fill dams to supply flowing water. Wind turbines need wind to turn the blades, and solar collectors need clear skies and sunshine to collect heat and make electricity. When these resources are unavailable so is the capacity to make energy from them. This can be unpredictable and inconsistent. The current cost of renewable energy technology is also far in excess of traditional fossil fuel generation. This is because it is a new technology and as such has extremely large capital cost.

  • the problem with the prepaid metering system is that they can sometimes be wrongly calibrated and can be faulty…at least that is my experience with them.

  • Nice comment….

    It is easy to recognize the environmental advantages of utilizing the alternative and renewable forms of energy but we must also be aware of the disadvantages.One disadvantage with renewable energy is that it is difficult to generate the quantities of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil fuel generators. This may mean that we need to reduce the amount of energy we use or simply build more energy facilities. It also indicates that the best solution to our energy problems may be to have a balance of many different power sources.Another disadvantage of renewable energy sources is the reliability of supply. Renewable energy often relies on the weather for its source of power. Hydro generators need rain to fill dams to supply flowing water. Wind turbines need wind to turn the blades, and solar collectors need clear skies and sunshine to collect heat and make electricity. When these resources are unavailable so is the capacity to make energy from them. This can be unpredictable and inconsistent. The current cost of renewable energy technology is also far in excess of traditional fossil fuel generation. This is because it is a new technology and as such has extremely large capital cost.

  • “Smart” meters which are really DUMB meters are a invasion of privacy – it monitors everything you do in your home. New GE appliances will have RF chips in them to communicate with the wireless electric smart meters and your appliance can be shut off at any time without your permission –
    These meters are very dangerous to your health – there are numerous experts and medical doctors that have proven this.
    There are also numerous documented fires that have been caused by “smart” meters which were not tested before being “deployed”.

    If you want to learn more and get the truth please go to:
    http://www.takebackyourpower.net

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