Later this month I will be presenting at an IoT conference emphasizing the critical role smart meter generated data will play in the journey to a Smart City. In preparation for this talk, I have been reviewing all the services that can be introduced with data that comes from smart meters.
Examples of these services include taking anonymised datasets to help governments and businesses make decisions based on location- and time-specific energy consumption. Energy regulators using the data to monitor the performance of distributors. Distributors using the data to reduce their cost to serve and improve the safety and reliability of supply, and consumers using the data to access services to help them save energy and save money.
The majority of smart meter rollouts across the world have followed a similar pattern, and that is, everyone in a geographic location gets a smart meter. It may take some years, but everyone will receive a smart meter, and all will have the same data captured.
When I started thinking about Australia, which is my audience for the upcoming presentation, I realised their approach is significantly different from most others around the world. Australia has given the responsibility of determining the rollout of smart meters to the Retailer. This responsibility in most other markets resides with the Distribution businesses. The Retailers will, understandably, make investment decisions based on what’s right for its shareholders. This means some customers will receive smart meters and some won’t. Some customers may have lots of data captured from the smart meters, and some won’t. Some customer may get access to certain services, and some won’t.
My concern with this approach is many of the innovative services that could be offered by existing utilities and start-ups require access to consistent and complete datasets. Without this data, many of these services will never be brought to market.
Before other markets look at allowing such a fragmented approach to a smart meter rollout, perhaps more thought needs to be given to the broader implications?
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