A nationwide electricity smart meter implementation is under development by Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy.

The decision to go ahead with a smart meter implementation for electricity follows the completion of a cost-benefit analysis, which was prepared with KPMG and investigated a range of rollout scenarios.

Of these, a ‘fast’ rollout over six years starting in 2027 was found to deliver the highest ‘net present value’ of £301 million ($382 million, in 2022 terms) and a benefit-cost ratio of 1.57 and is the preferred option. Conversely, the slowest ‘phased’ approach of replacing existing meters at end of life with a smart meter – estimated to run to about 2044 – also had a benefit-cost ratio above 1, albeit marginal at 1.17 but an NPV of just £71 million.

Similar scenarios were also run for gas smart metering. However, the benefits were considered not to be significant and a gas smart meter rollout is not being pursued at this stage. In this case, the ‘fast’ rollout benefit-cost ratio was marginal at 1.12 and the NPV was £41 million.

Implementation steps

As an initial step in the implementation, the Department for the Economy has indicated in its energy strategy action plan for 2023 that it intends to work with stakeholders building […]

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