Second chapter of our saga on Smart Meters after the first episode dedicated to their usefulness: critics often argue about their costs, supposedly exorbitant .
What is it really the situation?
The total cost of deploying smart meters may impress and give credibility to the more emotional than rational speech of activists, seeking to reach an audience that can not develop an argument to support its own view. Yet, the average cost of a metering point remains limited when the deployment is industrialized and this average cost even rivals the cost of some Smart Home solutions, yet poor in features.
More interesting than the total cost, the profitability of a deployment of smart meters seems to be an indicator to consider.
For energy companies, such deployment is rarely made profitable by the induced productivities: that’s what the main profitability studies show. An exception in countries suffering from electricity theft: there, the profitability of smart meters is high.
If the only proven benefits are those made by the energy company, the argument of critics of smart meters for their cost is based. It is then partially justified to see them asking energy companies and not consumers to bear the cost.
For the global society, several factors allow a positive conclusion:
– The impact of meters on emissions of greenhouse gas: not easy to prove and the CO2 price is not high enough yet
– Energy savings induced: still have to achieve them! and how to guide consumers!
As energy companies will not be able to prove the level of savings actually acquired, sustainably, the profitability for the company will be questioned.
Merely presenting smart meters as an inevitable development of metering and distribution networks is not enough to convince. I even think that communication alone is not sufficient. It must be accompanied by visible, tangible and significant benefits in order to neutralise the cost argument and make consumers accept to fund the meters.