E.ON launches pilot projects to rollout smart meters in four selected regions in Germany.

On the islands of Fehmarn and Rugen in northern Germany and in Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Bavaria a total of several hundred customers in the E.ON grid areas of Avacon, Bayernwerk, E.DIS and Hansewerk will participate in the projects.

The background to the pilot projects is the statutory obligation to install intelligent metering systems for customers with an annual consumption of more than 6MWh.

Operators of plants funded under the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) with an installed capacity of more than seven kilowatts are also likely to be under an obligation to install such systems from autumn 2017.

Altogether, after the completion of the rollout in 2027, around 20% of all electricity customers in Germany should have these intelligent metering systems – commonly known as smart meters – installed at their properties. At E.ON, this will affect more than a million customers.

A far greater proportion, approximately 80 percent, will be equipped with a so-called modern metering device, which is an electronic meter without a communication module.

E.ON Metering managing director Paul-Vincent Abs said: “The experience we are currently gaining as part of these pilot projects and the cooperation with municipality utilities help us to optimize the technical performance of the devices and thus to better align the technology with the customers’ preferences.

“The launch of intelligent meters is another step towards intelligent grids, which are hugely important for new, customer-orientated products and an ever more distributed energy world”.

E.ON Metering is offering support for municipal utilities with the rollout, from the smart meter gateway administration through to the complete operation of metering points as a service. Moreover, E.ON Sales is already developing products and customer solutions for the new, distributed and smart energy world.

The smart metering systems relay the customer’s energy consumption every quarter of an hour, while an online portal informs the customer about his or her consumption by means of graphs and diagrams. This way, customers can identify peak consumption times and make savings by changing their behaviour.

What’s more, there is no longer a need for meter readings, because the smart meter conveys the recorded values either via the mobile phone network or via Powerline ('Internet from a plug socket'). For the field test, E.ON grid operators have installed the necessary Powerline infrastructure in local grid stations and cable distribution panels.

The smart metering systems provided by E.ON comply with the high protection requirements and technical guidelines of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). In order to protect against hackers, for example, connections between the recipient and the communication module can only be installed outwardly and not inwardly. In addition, the smart metering systems also boast integrated firewalls.