Smart Metering in Finland Compared to Georgia Power

Georgia Power: putting customer convenience and utility last! Let’s compare how Georgia Power is “selling” its smart meters to how one of the leaders in smart metering in Europe does it. Let’s compare Finland to Georgia Power. The result may give you reason to vote in the Public Service Commissioner election going on right now.

Current Smart Meter customer benefits include:

With the Smart Meter program, your electric meter will be read remotely through communication towers. In the future, a number of new customer benefits will become available, including access to online energy usage information.
  • Reading your meter and generating your bill without having a representative visit your property on a regular basis.
  • Reducing the time needed to handle service orders, such as starting or stopping power.
  • Remotely checking a meter to ensure it is working properly.
  • Reducing the number of vehicles on the road resulting in less pollution and fuel saving because in-person meter readings are not required.
  • Power outage notification — In the event of a power outage in your area, Smart Meters help us better manage power restoration.
Future Smart Meter benefits include:
  • Accessing energy usage information online — view your hourly and daily usage.
  • Offering innovative rate options that meet your lifestyle — better manage your energy usage and control your energy bill.

All of the immediate benefits are tailored for the power company, not the customer. Sure, you might like not having a Georgia Power employee on your property, but the real benefit is to Georgia Power in reducing costs. The direct benefits to the customer are all deferred to some unspecified time in the future.

Meanwhile, for Finland, Look at page 32 of this report: European Smart Metering Landscape Report, by Stephan Renner, Mihaela Albu, Henk van Elburg, Christoph Heinemann, Artur Łazicki, Lauri Penttinen, Francisco Puente, Hanne Sæle,, Vienna, February 2011,

There are some minimum functional requirements for the metering system defined by the regulator in Finland:
Figure 1: Regulation and implementation of smart metering in Europe, page 14
  • Remotely readable hourly interval measurement data available next day to market actors including the customer;
  • If requested by the customer, the DSO must deliver metering equipment that has standardised connection for real-time hourly based monitoring;
  • Consumer must receive the data at the latest when the electricity seller receives it;
  • Meters are able to receive and execute load control commands, or forward the commands to devices that are able to limit the loads (i.e. two way communication), which mean in practise
    • The customer makes a contract with seller for a load control at peak times when the electricity stock market price is high — the seller gives control command either directly to the meter (using mobile phone network) or through DSO;
    • The customers orders from DSO a meter which forwards the load limiting commands to house automation control system (e.g. HVAC) which controls the system as it’s programmed;
  • DSO data security in data transfer and storage properly managed;
  • support for variable time-of-use (TOU) tariffs;
  • Registering over 3 min outages;
  • Starting 1 January 2012 settlement by hourly metered data is required for all customers that have meters capable to hourly metering.
Remotely readable meters that have already been installed are allowed some exceptions regarding the minimum functional requirements.

See the difference? In Finland, the customer comes first. The power company has to supply the customer data at least as good as the utilities get, plus equipment to view it. The customer decides what the meter can do, and can watch it as it does it.

Meanwhile, all of Georgia Power forces “smart” meters on customers without the customer having any decision-making abilitiy or even being able to tell what’s going on. No wonder Georgia Power customers don’t like smart meters! Only a monopoly could get away with customer “marketing” like that.

There’s an election going on. It was the regulator in Finland that put the customer first. What does the regulator in Georgia, the Public Service Commission do? Apparently its Commissioners accept massive contributions from the regulated utilities and, perhaps not coincidentally, do massive amounts of things those same utilities want. What if we elected Commissioners who required the utilities to provide information and service to their customers?


2 thoughts on “Smart Metering in Finland Compared to Georgia Power

  1. Michael G. Noll

    Arrogance of (Georgia) Power
    ONLY a monopoly like Georgia Power can proclaim to be “environmentally responsible” yet operate some of the worst coal power plants in the nation. Its Scherer Plant near Macon even leads the pack in regard to greenhouse gas emissions. Do they not understand the reality of global warming? Do they not notice ongoing drought conditions throughout the country? And why, in the context of these drought conditions, are they still investing in technologies (e.g. coal, nuclear, biomass) that need enormous amounts of water for cooling purposes?
    ONLY a monopoly like Georgia Power can claim to “care” for the well being of our society when they operate the nation’s largest biomass incinerator, run the nation’s worst coal firing plant, and are pushing for new nuclear power plants. Have they not heard of Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island? How can they still ignore the mounting evidence in regard to the side-effects of the vast pollution coming from their coal and biomass plants?
    ONLY a monopoly like Georgia Power can pretend to “respect” its customers when it forces them to pay for the construction of nuclear power plants nobody wants, or when it chooses intimidation as a tool to push through “smart meters”. The notion that you can’t have electricity without “smart meters” is not only ludicrous but reminds one on “leadership qualities” you expect to find in North Korea but not in the US. By the way, one should note that states like California have given their customers the possibility (dare I say right?) to “opt out”.
    Michael G. Noll, President
    Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy

  2. Michael G. Noll

    In case anyone wonders, I am not differentiating between Georgia Power and the entity that controls it: Southern Company

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