Smart meters delay prompts private-public sector model

HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator SA, locally acroymed DEDDIE, has worked on a new business model to bring together the private and public sectors for supply and replacement of the country’s conventional power meters with new-tech digital versions.

The need for a new business model was sparked by inefficiencies and major delays encountered through a competitive bidding process used for the project’s pilot program, entailing supply and installation of 200,000 smart meters.

A tender for this pilot stage was launched in 2014 and has since been bogged down by seven legal cases filed by three participating teams – ΟΤΕ, Intrakat-Intrasoft International; Intracom Telecom and a Microdata – SMEC partnership.

The new approach was forged through collaboration between HEDNO and French network operator Enedis. It has already been presented to the main power utility PPC. A presentation was offered to energy minister Giorgos Stathakis on Friday.

The project’s original schedule, which had envisioned the installation of smart meters for the entire country by 2020, is no longer feasible. HEDNO is now aiming to launch the project, based on the new business model, within the current year. A total of 7.5 million smart meters will eventually be installed.

HEDNO is expected to take part in the private-public sector venture with a stake of no less than 51 percent. Private-sector firms, to be selected through a competitive process, as well as banks, are expected to be on board. The involvement of the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has financed other infrastructure projects developed by HEDNO, is seen as a certainty.

The project’s budget is currently estimated at 1.2 billion euros. However, a drop to 800 million euros is expected as a result of an anticipated decline in prices for smart meter technology during the time it will take to develop the project.

The installation of smart meters, both a need and bailout obligation for the country, promises to change the electricity market’s operating nature and offer benefits to consumers.