Automatic data reading from smart meters is being developed in many parts of the world, including Latvia. The key drivers for that are developments of smart technologies and economic benefits for consumers. Deployment of smart meters could be launched in a massive scale.
Several pilot projects were implemented to verify the feasibility of smart meters for individual consumer groups. Preliminary calculations indicate that installation of smart meters for approximately 23 % of electricity consumers would be economically viable. Currently, the data for the last two years is available for an in-depth mathematical analysis. The continuous analysis of consumption data would be established, when more measurements from smart meters are available.
The extent of introduction of smart meters should be specified during this process in order to gain the maximum benefit for the whole society (consumers, grid companies, state authorities), because there are still many uncertain and variable factors. For example, it is necessary to consider statistical load variations by hour, dependence of electricity consumption on temperature fluctuations, consumer behaviour and demand response to market signals to reduce electricity consumption in the short and long term, consumer’s ambitions and capability to install home automation for regulation of electricity consumption.
To develop the demand response, it is necessary to analyse the whole array of additional factors, such as expected cost reduction of smart meters, possible extension of their functionality, further development of information exchange systems, as well as standard requirements and different political and regulatory decisions regarding the reduction of electricity consumption and energy efficiency.