Smart me­ter­ing and the En­er­gy Tran­si­tion Digi­ti­sa­tion Act

Energy Transition Digitisation Act

On 4 November 2015 the Federal Cabinet approved the government's draft Energy Transition Digitisation Act presented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The Bundesnetzagentur drew up a statement for the public hearing held by the Bundestag Committee for Economic Affairs and Energy on 13 April 2016. The statement is available (only in German) here:
Bundesnetzagentur statement on the Energy Transition Digitisation Act

Smart metering

Recording, transmitting and analysing meter data is of interest both to network operators and to suppliers and consumers. Meter data is therefore a fundamental element of both the regulated network and the liberalised market.

It is the task of the market and its players – suppliers, producers, consumers and meter operators – to ensure a balance between supply and demand. Meter data is used by the players in

  • making forecasts,
  • drawing up offers, and
  • billing.

The automated processes that will be enabled by smart metering will also be helpful for the players.

The participation of the consumers as active energy market players depends, however, on the consumers being willing and having both the time and technical resources. Lower costs and/or more comfort and convenience provide the biggest incentive for consumers to become actively involved and maybe also change their consumption behaviour. At the same time, though, the customers must still be able to understand the complex processes and responsibilities, and products must be attractive enough (in terms of both price and usage) for consumers to be willing to change their behaviour and possibly their equipment.

Up until a few years ago electronic meters that enable remote reading were not usually installed in domestic properties. The EU's Third Energy Package (comprising a set of Framework Directives to be transposed into national law) recommended that where rollout is assessed positively in a cost-benefit analysis, at least 80% of all consumers – or of the group of consumers recommended in the assessment – be equipped with smart meters by 2020.

Both European and national legislatures saw and still see modern metering systems – together with variable pricing – as providing an opportunity to

  • save energy,
  • increase energy efficiency,
  • facilitate business processes, and
  • control networks more efficiently.

Germany substantiated the European aims in the so-called "Meseberger Beschlüssen" in 2007 and implemented and adapted the measures adopted in subsequent amendments of the Energy Act.

Implementation is primarily to be driven by the market (free choice of meter operator and therefore free choice of metering equipment), with smart meter installation mandatory in certain cases (at present new and renovated buildings, consumers with an annual consumption exceeding 6,000 kWh, and renewable and CHP installations with a nominal power of 7 kWp or more).

Economic assessment

Germany's economic assessment conducted as required under the EU's Third Package and providing recommendations on the national rollout of smart meters was published on 30 July 2013 and supplemented by alternative scenario assessments in December 2014:

Cost-benefit analysis for the comprehensive use of smart metering - also available in English
(carried out by Ernst & Young GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology)

Calculation of variants of roll-out strategies currently under discussion – supplementing the cost-benefit analysis (only in German)
(carried out by Ernst & Young GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology)

Reports and studies

The Bundesnetzagentur submitted its report entitled "Competition developments and possible action in the fields of metering and variable pricing" to the then Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology on 10 March 2010.

The Bundesnetzagentur commissioned two studies in preparation for the report:

Information on smart grids and smart markets can be found here.

The Bundesnetzagentur's ruling chambers determine the business processes and data formats to be implemented and used by all market players. The determinations relating to metering can be found here (only in German).

The Bundesnetzagentur's statement on the German Energy Transition Digitisation Act and information on smart meters can be found here (only in German).