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EU gets closer to new energy efficiency, smart meter requirements

By September the European Union may have a new energy efficiency strategy in place. On June 14 negotiators struck a provisional deal on the proposed new EU energy efficiency directive (the “Third Energy Efficiency Directive”). Final approval is likely.

For the past year the EU has been working on this amendment to its energy efficiency directive, which sets out the requirements for EU member nations.

Once approved, the updated directive would require EU nations to save energy in specific ways — such as by renovating buildings, and stipulating how much energy savings utilities must deliver.

Currently the EU goal is to improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. However, European Commission figures suggest that if these measures were only options, not requirements, the savings would only meet half that goal.

The new amendment also addresses smart meters. EU countries would have to ensure that, to the extent technically possible and financially reasonable, each customer would receive a competitively priced individual smart meter to accurately record how much energy they use and when they use it. This would apply not only to end users of electricity and natural gas, but also to customers receiving district heating/cooling or domestic hot water service.

Final adoption is targeted for September. This requires an EU Energy Committee vote, followed by a full vote of the members.