Thursday, 28 November 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
198. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a company (details supplied) has commenced the upgrade of its domestic meters to smart meters; if so, if it is by agreement with the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities; the alternative meters available to customers who have been informed that their meters are old and need replacing in cases in which the customer does not wish to have a smart meter installed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49497/19]
Smart meters are the next generation of electricity and gas meters and will replace older mechanical meters. The installation of smart meters is a key enabler for the energy transition to a decarbonised system.
The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is the competent authority for delivery of the Smart Meter Upgrade. ESB Networks are responsible for rolling out smart electricity meters and Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) will be responsible for rolling out smart gas meters.
The Smart Meter Upgrade is a meter replacement programme. When the programme completes in Ireland in 2024, it will result in the upgrade of over 2 million meters to modern, smart-ready technology. The electricity smart meter installation commenced in September 2019 and it is expected that some 20,000 meters will be installed by the end of 2019. Already over 9,000 smart electricity meters have been installed.
GNI has an on going domestic meter replacement programme and currently replaces older meters with smart ready ones.
Gas Networks Ireland apply due diligence with regards to gas meters over 20 years old and install a replacement meter. Like all equipment, meters for measuring gas or electricity use require replacement over time and as older brands and models cease to be available, newer technology enables improvements in services and greater efficiencies in meter reading. The maintenance of gas meters is an operational matter for GNI, a commercial state body under the aegis of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, which operates the gas distribution network.
The smart ready meters have no radio communication features and emit no radio signal. However, a customer who does not want an upgraded meter will be able to decline to have this new meter installed.