France’s government has given its approval ‘in principle’ to a nationwide rollout of the Gazpar smart gas meter.
In a statement Pierre Moscovici, minister of economy, and Philippe Martin, minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, said they supported the rollout in principle. Final approval will be given following a tender process for the deployment by GrDF (Gas Réseau Distribution France), if it is confirmed to be in the interests of the market and of consumers, according to the energy code.
GrDF, France’s natural gas distribution business, has had the Gazpar gas smart meter under development since 2009. From the start of 2010, an 18,500 meter pilot was conducted over 18 months in four regions, Auch, Saint-Omer, Laval and Pierre Bénite, and Etampes, to refine the technology. The resultant meter is described as a low cost, simple but rugged diaphragm meter, which is equipped with a 20-year lifetime GPRS radio module to transmit the meter data to the central information system.
GrDF has proposed for the rollout that the first phase of 150,000 meters should be deployed over a year beginning in late-2015. Thereafter the remainder of the full rollout of 11 million meters would take place over the following six years to complete by the end of 2022.
The ministers estimate that the rollout could lead to the creation of 1,000 direct jobs. It would also have a positive impact on the gas industry as a whole and the associated jobs. The recycling of old meters will also be boosted, with the volume of material reaching 4,000 tonnes per year during the deployment.
The main objectives of the rollout would be to gain daily consumption data to improve billing quality and thus customer satisfaction by billing based on consumption and to develop demand side management of energy.