French Regulator Backs 4 Billion-Euro Smart Meter Extension

A 4 billion-euro ($5.6 billion) plan to install “smart” power meters in 35 million homes across France would benefit power grids, consumers and industry, the country’s energy regulator said in a ruling.

A pilot project called “Linky” in which 250,000 devices were tested in homes near the cities of Lyon and Tours should be extended, the Commission de Regulation de l’Energie said today in a statement. The initial cost of the project is 4 billion euros, the regulator said.

“A rapid decision to promote Linky meters would be very favorable to French industry,” according to the regulator. The French experiment is unique and domestic standards could be adopted internationally, it said.

The regulator’s backing of the plan paves the way for government approval. Energy Minister Eric Besson said in May the government will decide by the end of September whether to extend the meters to all French power consumers. The meters can be monitored remotely and provide real-time information about power use to promote more efficiency.

France is aiming to meet European Union requirements for the installation of smart meters in homes by 2020, Besson has said. The country would publish tenders for the meters, which could be installed in homes at a rate of about 6 million a year, Michelle Bellon, president of Electricite de France SA’s ERDF distribution unit, said in May.

(Adds details about pilot study in second paragraph.)
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