The Smart Meter Upgrade is a meter replacement programme which will result in the upgrade of 2.4 million meters to modern, smart-ready technology. The upgrade to smart meters will encourage energy efficiency, support an increase in renewable power on the energy system, and result in lower overall costs for consumers. Smart meters will also support wider decarbonisation of heat and transport and the deployment of smart grids in the future.
The programme is being coordinated by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities with ESB Networks responsible for rolling out smart-ready electricity meters and Gas Networks Ireland responsible for the installation of smart-ready gas meters.
The roll-out plan is scheduled to replace 250,000 electricity meters between autumn 2019 and the end of 2020 and a further 500,000 meters every year from 2021 to 2024.
The expected cost of the Smart Meter Upgrade is €1.2 billion. This cost will be included in the costs of distribution networks in the same way as all other electricity infrastructure investments are paid for and subject to approval by the energy regulator.
This will be reflected on consumer electricity bills through an additional cost of approximately 10-11 cent per week per customer. However it is expected this investment will be more than offset by the potential savings customers will be able to make as a result of the greater information that will be available through the smart meter. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities has done extensive analysis of the programme and is satisfied that the investment involved represents value for money.