The "Smart new world?" research project has for the first time collected consumer and expert demands and expectations in the form of interviews and focus groups on possible scenarios for the introduction of smart meters.
Smart metering is different. Smart electricity meters can read the electricity consumption of individual households to the second and can also switch them off. Smart meters are often praised as an instrument to encourage a sustainable use of energy, since they allow consumers to judge their consumption better and thus save CO2
Cost issues and concerns about privacy
However, there are still a number of unanswered questions. How are the investment costs to be divided and uniform standards implemented? If everyone has his own electricity consumption, there is also the danger that the individualised tariffs will become unmanageable. If cheap tariffs are only available at certain times of day, there is the risk of social justice.
However, the main issue is that of data protection and privacy. If electricity meters communicate the information about when we switch our heating on and off and when we leave a room, our behaviour can be monitored even at home.
Elaboration of guidelines and recommendations to policymakers
The "Smart new world?" research project has for the first time collected consumer and expert demands and expectations in the form of interviews and focus groups on possible scenarios for the introduction of smart meters. This led to the proposal of requirements and design modifications of the smart meters that network operators, energy providers and regulatory bodies must satisfy if the devices are to be introduced on a large scale. In addition, recommendations were made to policymakers. The study shows very clearly that consumers require cost transparency and want to know about the use of the data.
All stakeholders at one table
How can smart metering be introduced successfully and acceptably in Austria? "Before they are introduced, time should be taken to develop know-how. Uniform standards are currently being prepared at EU level, and it is important that we participate actively in this process and continue communication with the citizens", to quote Walter Peissl, the deputy director of the ITA. As an accompanying measure, he recommends transparent tariff models, a clear investment cost calculation and an ombudsman's office for consumers.