Dáil Éireann - Volume 646 - 07 February, 2008

Written Answers. - Energy Conservation.

Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the steps that were initiated in 2007 in conjunction with the Commission for Energy Regulation, Sustainable Energy Ireland and energy suppliers to roll-out the provision of real time energy displays for households which have demonstrable potential to reduce energy bills, as outlined in the Energy White Paper. [4390/08]

Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if a technical economic and cost review on smart meters was completed in 2007; if not, when it will be completed; and if it was, the results of same. [4391/08]

  Deputy Eamon Ryan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 and 242 together.

The roll out of smart meters, as set out in the Government’s Energy Policy Framework and in the Programme for Government, is a key component of the Government’s strategy to improve management of demand for electricity and achieve greater energy efficiency through use of the latest technology. The delivery of smart metering requires a collective response. Therefore, at my direction, my Department is working closely with the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), ESB Networks, ESB Customer Supply and the independent suppliers to roll out this new technology.

[800] In March 2007 the CER launched a consultation process on demand side management and smart metering, which considered the technical, economic and behavioural benefits and costs of smart metering in both the Irish and international contexts. On 5 November I formally announced the national smart metering programme, coinciding with the publication by the CER of their paper outlining the results of their consultation process. This paper set out the reasons for the CER’s recommendation to proceed with the roll out of an optimally designed universal smart metering programme that will embrace all aspects of smart metering relevant to the Irish electricity market. Measures initiated in 2007 were designed to facilitate installation of 25,000 smart meters in varied geographic locations as part of the first phase of the programme. The ultimate objective is to complete the national roll out in 5 years.

The paper also proposed the governance structure for the roll out. That structure is now in place with the first meeting of the Steering Group, consisting of representatives from the CER, my Department, Sustainable Energy Ireland, ESB Networks and Customer Supply, and independent suppliers, having taken place on 10 December. Under the oversight of the CER a number of Working Groups are also examining the technical aspects of the roll out.

Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the progress that has been made on the consultation process on the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan outlined in the Energy White Paper; when the consultation paper on the subject was published; and when the final plan is scheduled for publication. [4392/08]

  Deputy Eamon Ryan: I published the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan for public consultation on 3 October 2007. The draft Action Plan sets out in excess of 60 actions that Government is taking or will take in the period up to 2020 to achieve a 20% reduction in energy demand across our economy and a 33% reduction in the public sector. The draft Plan also outlines how we will begin to achieve our more ambitious target of a 30% reduction across the whole economy by 2020.

Over 40 responses have been received as part of the public consultation process. I intend to publish the final Action Plan in April of this year.