From next year, consumers who want to replace their analog meter with a digital one will no longer have to pay 89 euros for the installation. This decision was made by the Flemish energy regulator (Vreg) to encourage the adoption of smart meters.
Why digital meters are important
Digital meters are devices that measure the electricity and gas consumption of households and businesses. They can communicate with the grid operator and the energy supplier, and provide real-time information on the energy usage and costs. They also enable new services and tariffs, such as dynamic pricing, demand response, and self-consumption.
Digital meters are essential for the transition to a more sustainable and efficient energy system, as they allow consumers to optimize their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint. They also help the grid operator to balance the supply and demand of electricity, and to integrate more renewable energy sources.
How the installation becomes free
Until now, consumers who wanted to install a digital meter had to pay 89 euros to the grid operator Fluvius, unless they were building or renovating a property. This fee covered the cost of the meter and the labor. However, from January 1, 2023, this fee will be waived, and the installation will be free for everyone who requests it.
This decision was made by the Vreg, the regulator of the Flemish energy market, in order to speed up the rollout of digital meters in Flanders. The Vreg argues that since the introduction of the capacity tariff, which charges consumers based on their peak power consumption, it is important that everyone has a digital meter to monitor and manage their energy usage.
The Vreg also says that the cost of the installation will be recovered through the distribution tariffs, which are paid by all consumers through their energy bills. The Vreg estimates that the impact of this measure on the tariffs will be minimal, and that the benefits of digital meters will outweigh the costs in the long term.
What is the current status of digital meters in Flanders
According to Fluvius, the grid operator responsible for the installation of digital meters, about 40 percent of the Flemish households and businesses have a digital meter as of December 2022. This is half of the target that Fluvius had set for the end of 2024. The grid operator aims to replace all analog meters with digital ones by 2029.
Fluvius says that the installation of digital meters is progressing well, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the supply chain issues. Fluvius also says that the feedback from the customers who have a digital meter is positive, and that they appreciate the advantages of having more insight and control over their energy consumption.
Fluvius offers several options for consumers who want to get a digital meter. They can either wait for their turn in the planned rollout, which is based on the age and location of their meter, or they can request an early installation, which will be free from January 1. They can also choose to have a budget meter, which allows them to pay for their energy in advance, or a dual meter, which registers both day and night tariffs.
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