€1.2bn plan for smart gas and electricity meters to be installed in every household
Every home in the country will get a new smart electricity and gas meter by 2024, as part of a massive €1.2bn project to replace and update old meters.
The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) will today announce that the scheme has been given the green light.
As they get the meter, customers' bills will increase by about a €5.50 a year to help fund the project. The charge will be added to a customer's network fee each year for a period of 20 years.
However, the CER said savings associated with the meters would mean people would be able to reduce their energy costs by around €20 a year.
It said initiatives such as time-of-use tariffs, where customers save money by using most electricity during off-peak hours, would mean net savings for individuals.
Customers will also be able to see how much energy they are using, with the hope this will change behaviour and reduce overall consumption.
"The trials that we have been running demonstrate, for example, the typical customer saved a minimum of three to four times [the €5.50 annual bill increase], by using less," energy commissioner Aoife MacEvilly said. "You might have a bit more in terms of your network charge, but the ability to save significantly more, by reducing your consumption.
"If you really want to invest in smart home technology, you could actually gain a huge benefit from this," she said.
The new meters will have a Sim card, similar to that in a mobile phone, and will send readings to the network 48 times a day. The CER said work was under way to ensure data protection.
A benefit of the smart meters is that they will eliminate the need to take manual readings four times a year. The CER said there was no upfront cost of installing the meters.
The first phase of installations will begin in 2019, with 250,000 to be installed by those who request them. Only those customers who request a smart meter will pay the €5.50 annual charge. However, eventually all customers will have to have a smart meter and will incur the charge.
Smart bills, which show users when they are consuming the most electricity, energy statements, web portals and apps, which show up-to-the-minute energy consumption, will be available by the end of 2020.