The smart meters are connected to a central office for analysis and planning via a data concentrator, providing data to optimize usage efficiency and minimizing waste. Benchmarking data from last year will contribute to emissions and efficiency programs in 2010 and beyond.

By consolidating infrastructure, the program also delivers operational advantages, reducing up-front costs and allowing other communications-dependent functions like security, health, safety and assisted living monitoring to be added as the city develops those systems, the company claimed.

Public works departments like those in Erding are part of a trend in Germany to re-communalize key town infrastructure. Towns are taking a financial stake in multi-fuel utilities, water, district heating, transport and communications.

These municipalities encourage technologies that can increase efficiency and have a positive environmental impact.

Walter Huber, general manager of Stadtwerke Erding, said: ”We are developing a complete picture of our energy and resource usage to help us become more efficient providers and consumers of energy. What we are learning will help us formulate practical, effective and timely programs to reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing lifestyle.”