My Benefits: Make a more sustainable future environment

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Benefits

Smart metering and smart grids would not be developed in Europe without good reason. Here are the three main ways in which smart metering and grids can benefit you and your community.

Reliable energy when you need it the most

Our changing energy system makes continuous energy supply more challenging than in the past. Smartening our grids is a way to ensure your lights stay on.

What's the current situation?

European energy policy aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy.

Energy demand is growing: the EU's population has grown by around 100 million over the last 50 years and is continuing to grow. In parallel, people are using more electronic devices than ever, and soon, electric cars and buses will become commonplace.

Unfortunately our electricity systems are not yet fully equipped to deal with this new demand, especially in a system with less predictable energy production from renewable sources. If unaddressed, the security and stability of your electricity supply could be at stake!

How can 'smarter' grids and meters help?

The smart grid, supported by new devices like the smart meter, offers us a way not only to manage rising energy demand and changing energy use patterns (like charging your electric car), but also to integrate new technologies while helping to limit environmental and cost impacts.

Smart grids guarantee the stability and security of your electricity supply, helping avoid costly and disruptive outages and reduce society-wide spending on back-up measures. They do this by providing your grid operator with a better picture of people’s real patterns of energy use. This in turn allows them to better manage the flow of electricity from where there is too much to where it is actually needed.


Smart grid technology helps to give you reliable energy in two important ways:

1. Maintaining your usual quality of supply

When we look at the wider impact of interruptions to power supply (also known as ‘power outages’), we start to see damaging consequences with alarming costs for society.

Although frequency and length of power outages have, on average, dropped in Europe over the past five years, there can be disruptive consequences when they do happen, including:

  • Daily services we rely on such as trains, traffic lights, cash machines, elevators are down
  • Telecommunications go down, meaning internet, televisions, radios and phones stop functioning. Settings are lost and recordings interrupted.
Longer outages can affect a wider range of essential services that rely on a constant energy supply, including:

  • Water supply
  • Medical equipment
  • Banks and stock markets
  • Air traffic control centres
  • Nuclear power plants.
And in your home, other than no light, warm water and heating:

  • Dinner is left half-cooked and the washing gets stuck halfway through the cycle
  • Food in your freezer defrosts (which can also leave a big mess to clean up)!

2. Identifying and solving incidents much more quickly

Today, many power companies still rely on you, the customer, to call them to report a power outage. In contrast, some of the most advanced smart grids, supported by smart meters, can instantly and automatically identify the location and cause of a power outage. Problems can sometimes even be fixed remotely, and if not, repair teams can be sent immediately to the correct area to more rapidly restore your electricity supply.

In fact, the most advanced smart systems already in use can automatically isolate the section of the grid where there is a problem and re-route energy flows to restore power to the surrounding area.