Immediately after the Passover holiday, Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) will start rolling out smart electricity meters throughout Israel. 200,000 digital meters will be installed annually for five years, for a total of a million meters. The cost of the project is in the hundreds of millions of shekels.
The companies that won IEC's tender for installing the new meters are Afcon and Tadal. The companies will initially replace old meters in Rishon LeZion, Herzliya, Petah Tikva, Hadera, and Ashdod.
The new meters will enable IEC to implement the reform calling for competition in the power supply industry. Dozens of private suppliers have recently been authorized to compete in the consumer power distribution segment, while transmission will remain the exclusive preserve of IEC. Consumers in a building in which a smart meter has been installed will be able to leave IEC and obtain electricity through one of the new suppliers.
In order to compete for electricity consumers, the private suppliers will be able to offer various benefits. One of the main ones that the smart meters will facilitate is a variable tariff depending on time of day and season, allowing consumption to be diverted from peak hours. Under the reform agreement designed to lead to the privatization of the power supply market, IEC itself will initially be barred from competing over terms with the new suppliers.
Unlike existing analog meters, which have to be read on site by IEC workers, the new meters are read remotely. They send energy consumption data continuously, and have two-way communication with central systems. It will thus be possible to measure power consumption by the hour, and not just a monthly total, and to offer discounts accordingly. In addition, consumers will be able to see their power usage data digitally.
Back in 2017, IEC began a pilot scheme to install smart meters in neighborhoods in Netanya, Jerusalem, and Beersheva, while in Modi'in all meters have been replaced with the new ones. In addition, since November 2021, IEC has installed smart meters when connecting every new construction project to the grid.
The one million smart meters to be installed in the coming years will be free. Anyone who wishes to have a smart meter installed but whose home is not included in IEC's plan can order one independently starting from this August, for a one-time payment of NIS 223.
Moshe Cohen, acting VP of Network Services at IEC, said, "This is IEC's most significant project for the coming years. It will put Israel on a par with the most advanced countries in the world, and in the future will provide the company's customers with information in real time and with tools to manage power usage intelligently and correctly, for homes and businesses."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 18, 2022.
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