Joint position on smart meters
(15 December 2010) The social partners in the European electricity industry (EURELECTRIC for the employers, EPSU/EMCEF for the trade unions) have discussed on several occasions the implications of the roll‐out of smart meters in the social dialogue committee.
Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, concerning the liberalization of the European electricity market, contains a proposal to roll‐out smart meters to 80% of homes in 2020(1). The Directive further refers to the possibility of a cost‐benefit analysis by the Member States.
Whereas both employers and trade unions have already stated their own views on smart meters(2), as Social Partners we jointly recognize that smart meters are an enabling factor in:
raising our customers’ awareness over their energy consumption,
developing new products and services in the retail market, and
promoting a broader technological development of the network infrastructure (so‐called smart grids).
We therefore would like to stress the following points:
The Directive foresees cost‐ benefit analysis to determine to the added value of the introduction of smart meters. We underline that it is important for Member States to undertake such analysis and include all stakeholders in the preparation for as well as the subsequent evaluation of the results;
There is concern that the introduction of smart meters will have consequences for employment. These consequences could be negative with certain occupations and jobs disappearing. They could also be positive as the roll‐out and new services will create work and require new skills and qualifications. We underline that these consequences should be included when cost‐benefit analyses are undertaken. The results should be discussed also with the social partners;
The roll‐out of smart meters requires careful planning, implementation and monitoring. It is important for the companies responsible to ensure that both direct employees and workers from third‐parties have the adequate training and skills. This will minimize the risk of accidents and assure the safety of both workers and customers.
Third parties should be appropriately vetted for competence and compliance including health and safety standards to ensure that the previous principle is not compromised. We will bring this joint position to the attention of our members and the relevant European institutions.
For EPSU: Jan RUDEN Vice President Standing Committee Utilities
For EURELECTRIC: Emanuela PREITI Chair of Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Electricity
For EMCEF: Bernd FRIEG Vice Chair of Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Electricity
1 Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Annex 1, 2: “Where roll‐out of smart meters is assessed positively, at least 80 % of consumers shall be equipped with intelligent metering systems by 2020.”
2 Please find below the link to each respective position on smart meters:
Answer of the Commission to the joint contribution
Social Partners joint letter to DG Energy on Communication on Smart Grids: From Innovation to Deployment
Background and guidance on use of the joint social partner statement on smart meters (for our members only)