29. June 2022 By Stephen Lorenzen, Georg Benhöfer and Lars Zimmermann
Update on the smart meter rollout: withdrawal of the general ruling of 7 February 2020
After the smart meter rollout began with a significant delay in early 2020, the legality of the pronouncement was called into question by the Higher Administrative Court for North Rhine-Westphalia in 2021 following repeated criticism. The BSI now reacted again and withdrawn the pronouncement. This withdrawal also applies retrospectively. The reason for the withdrawal was the Higher Administrative Court’s ruling in favour of the BSI.
Take a look at our two previous blog posts below to find out more about the background to the situation and how it came to this:
The BSI also announced a general ruling on the determination pursuant to Section 19(6) of the German Metering Point Operation Act (Messstellenbetriebsgesetz, MsbG) at the same time as the withdrawal of the pronouncement was published. The general ruling aims to protect smart meters and modern metering equipment that have already been installed from being withdrawn, thus ensuring the status quo of the smart meter rollout. The amendment that the BSI made to the MsbG in 2021 enshrined the legal certainty this created for metering point operators. Smart meters that have already been installed or are still to be installed can thus continue to be used and installed, provided that using these smart metering systems does not pose any disproportionate risk. In addition, the affected systems must either have valid certificates according to Section 24(4) MsbG or it must at least be expected that the valid certificates will be available within 12 months. If these certificates are not available, the installation process must be stopped until the certificates are available and the BSI has published a pronouncement.
However, the rollout of smart metering systems is voluntary until the BSI has issued a new general ruling establishing technical feasibility in accordance with Section 30 MsbG. At this point in time, it is not yet possible to estimate when a new general ruling from the BSI can be expected. A new general ruling is the only way for installing smart meters to become obligatory again.
The withdrawal of the general ruling means that no more smart meters have to be rolled out by metering point operators until further notice. This makes the goals of the German Metering Point Operation Act published in 2016 a distant prospect. The goal was to achieve an installation rate of ten per cent by 2023. This will be difficult to implement now that installations have been stopped again.
It’s clear that the transformation to a climate-neutral energy economy needs smart meters more urgently than ever before. The transformation can only succeed if the energy flows are secure and digital in the grids and the flexibility that comes with it can be managed reliably.
By the way, you can find out more about our services in the energy sector on our website. Our experts bring the right mix of technology expertise and sound understanding of your digitalisation project.
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