(Frankfurt a. M./Leipzig, 21.06.2023) At the VDE FNN expert congress ZMP on metering and digitalization on June 21 and 22 in Leipzig, the Forum Netztechnik/Netzbetrieb im VDE (VDE FNN) is making the case for further improving the framework conditions for the use of smart metering systems (iMSys). VDE FNN welcomes the fact that the rollout of smart meters has now accelerated, particularly as a result of the Act to Restart the Digitization of the Energy Transition (GNDEW), which came into force in May.
Among other things, smart metering systems will give consumers more transparency about their electricity consumption as well as access to variable tariffs and energy management. From VDE FNN's point of view, however, further adjustments are needed in the regulatory framework to ensure that our power supply remains reliable and the energy transition affordable. This is because power grid operators must integrate more and more high-performance customer installations such as wallboxes, heat pumps or energy storage systems into the grid in an ever shorter time. Households will also need significantly more electricity and power in the future due to the electrification of the heating and transport sectors.
Accelerating the energy turnaround and optimizing grid expansion through grid-friendly management
Dr. Joachim Kabs, CEO of VDE FNN: "We want to do both: enable the rapid ramp-up of e-mobility, heat pumps and storage systems. And at the same time ensure reliable power supply and convenience for customers. The solution is called grid-serving control. Electricity network operators should be allowed to intervene in the power grid in a forward-looking, controlling manner. This will enable us to accelerate the energy, transport and heat transformation, make grid expansion more efficient through grid-serving control, proactively prevent critical situations in the grid and reduce ad hoc measures."
The draft specifications for Paragraph 14a of the Energy Management Law, which were put out for consultation by the Federal Network Agency on June 16, 2023, are a good basis for implementing the necessary control of controllable loads such as e-mobility and heat pumps. The positive assessment already made of the key issues paper remains valid, especially since some of VDE FNN's demands have been taken up in detail. The right path has been taken with the mandatory introduction of controllability and the proven economic relief for end customers. The now binding determination of the network condition and the introduction of variable network charges also provide a good starting point for the agile further development of the energy networks, which VDE FNN will actively support as a technical rule maker in the coming years. From VDE FNN's point of view, more competencies for the distribution network operators relieve the burden on all customers via the network charges. This is because the current plans of the Federal Network Agency prescribe that the network must be expanded to a maximum in some cases in the future: Whenever network operators have to intervene in a controlling manner due to bottlenecks. Instead, the instruments of control should be used to adapt network expansion to capacity utilization in an economically optimized way. The market incentives envisaged could also improve the involvement of end customers. Here, VDE FNN advocates clear rules for the proactive use of grid-serving control.
Rollout now much easier and more binding thanks to GNDEW
With the GNDEW, the rollout of smart meters has become significantly easier and more binding. Over 400,000 iMSys have already been installed. The target by 2030: over 18 million. Ingo Schönberg, Vice Chairman of VDE FNN: "To achieve this goal, we must soon get to the point of installing two million smart meters per year for the energy transition and enabling control. Therefore, we must not let up now. We need to create even more incentives, for example through further benefits for consumers such as dynamic tariffs, flexibility markets or tenant electricity models. This would further strengthen the use of smart meters." In addition, he said, calibration law needs to be modernized in a timely manner: There is a lack of an extension of the calibration period for smart meter gateways and of practicable processes for updates.