The relevance and importance of smart electricity meters for climate change policy

A significant amount of the Austrian greenhouse gas emissions is caused by energy consumption in private households. In the action plan on energy efficiency the European Union has set the target of reducing private energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020.

The aim of the overall project is to explore the potentials for CO2 reduction at the household level, and also the role smart meters could play to achieve this goal.

In the first subproject, a new device to collect, display, and transmit energy data on the household level based on an already existing digital electricity meter has been developed. Then the developed technical solution was tested in a one-year field test covering 280 households in three different regions. The test households were not only testing the opportunities offered by ongoing energy monitoring but were also offered to avail themselves of consulting services. Moreover, a micro emission-trading scheme was simulated for the test households during the trial period.

In the third and final phase we analyse the actual energy savings in the testing phase, socio-economic effects and consequences – ie privacy and data protection –, the user friendliness of the equipment used, the possible effects on user behaviour and the individual motives and reasons for energy-related behaviour. We recommend that the collected know-how should be reflected in the future development of the equipment.



  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2014). Smart energy saving at home. ITA-Dossier no. 10en (July 2014; Author: Michael Ornetzeder). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-010en
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2014). Intelligent Stromsparen im Haushalt. ITA-Dossier Nr. 10 (Juli 2014; Autor: Michael Ornetzeder). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-010
  • Riedlinger, D. (2013). Smart Metering im Testlauf. Ita-Newsfeed. Retrieved from
  • Seebauer, S., Wolf, A., Ungerböck, R., Steiner, D., Türk, A., Suschek-Berger, J., et al. (2013). €CO2-Management Sub 3, Sozioökonomische Begleitforschung, Synthesebericht (p. 10). Graz/Wien. Retrieved from
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Conference Papers/Speeches

Conference Papers/Speeches

  • 11/04/2014 , Trondheim
    Michael Ornetzeder: 
    Do we need smart meters to save energy?
    Workshop on smart grids and the social sciences
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08/2009 - 12/2012