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Why meter­ing point oper­a­tion is of great strate­gic impor­tance

Once again, change is in the air. The com­pe­ti­tion has final­ly arrived—this time in the shape of meter­ing point oper­a­tions. Ger­man util­i­ties are now faced with the deci­sion as to whether—and how—they want to posi­tion them­selves on the mar­ket as 3rd par­ty meter­ing point oper­a­tor (Ger­man abbre­vi­a­tion: wMSB) and to offer added val­ue for end cus­tomers.

First and fore­most, a meter­ing point oper­a­tor must ful­fill stan­dard services—an oblig­a­tory task in the roll­out of smart meter­ing sys­tems. So why should cus­tomers change providers? Espe­cial­ly since cus­tomers’ fun­da­men­tal will­ing­ness to change providers is lim­it­ed. For exam­ple, the Ger­man Fed­er­al Net­work Agency (Bun­desnet­za­gen­tur) issued a mon­i­tor­ing report in 2017 which shows that in 2016, 71.5 per­cent of cus­tomers were still with their orig­i­nal ener­gy provider. 30.5 per­cent of elec­tric­i­ty cus­tomers were even still in their orig­i­nal elec­tric­i­ty plans. This means that not even 30 per­cent of cus­tomers have changed sup­pli­ers in the 20 years since lib­er­al­iza­tion was intro­duced.

Meter­ing point oper­a­tion paves the way for val­ue-added ser­vices

3rd par­ty meter­ing oper­a­tion is a mar­ket role that has been intro­duced by the Ger­man Meter­ing Point Act in 2016. It is part of the added val­ue of the cus­tomer-cen­tered ener­gy ser­vice of the future. Thus, on its own, it does not rep­re­sent a prod­uct or sus­tain­able busi­ness mod­el. But meter­ing point oper­a­tion is a door open­er to the cus­tomer, and enables fur­ther devel­op­ment of one’s own busi­ness mod­el. In order to iden­ti­fy val­ue-added ser­vices, it is nec­es­sary to take a clos­er look at the data com­mu­ni­ca­tion paths, as well as the pos­si­ble val­ue that is added, and also to become aware of the tar­get groups.

Long-term suc­cess with inno­v­a­tive ener­gy ser­vices

Data com­mu­ni­ca­tion under­goes a deci­sive change as a result of smart meter­ing sys­tems. The pre­vi­ous­ly lin­ear chain of com­mu­ni­ca­tion via the dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem oper­a­tor to the autho­rized mar­ket par­tic­i­pants is bro­ken down and gives way to a star-shaped data com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem direct­ly from the gate­way to all autho­rized enti­ties. At least, that’s what’s planned. Like a spi­der in its net­work of webs, the meter­ing point oper­a­tor, respon­si­ble also for admin­is­trat­ing the smart meter gate­way, keeps all the strings in their own hand. At the oth­er end of the respec­tive thread, how­ev­er, are not end users, but the providers of ener­gy or ener­gy-relat­ed ser­vices. This is the new tar­get group that the meter­ing point oper­a­tor gains as a cus­tomer by pro­vid­ing infra­struc­ture and val­ue-added ser­vices.

Sov­er­eign­ty over the meter­ing point is a strate­gic com­pet­i­tive advan­tage

Meter­ing point oper­a­tors have an enor­mous com­pet­i­tive advan­tage, being posi­tioned at the strate­gi­cal­ly impor­tant data hub of the ener­gy indus­try. Because no smart meter­ing-based val­ue-added ser­vice can be real­ized with­out the cen­tral ser­vice of the meter­ing point oper­a­tor. This is the ide­al basis for devel­op­ing and mar­ket­ing val­ue-added ser­vices your­self, and with part­ners. Meter­ing point oper­a­tors are thus chang­ing from ana­log device admin­is­tra­tors to IT, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and val­ue-added ser­vice providers.