The electricity authority (EAC) will not be in a position to install smart meters for its residential customers according to the timeframe it announced to parliament in December, sources reported on Tuesday.

The installation of remote smart-metering systems appears to be mired in tendering process delays, according to daily Philenews, and is highly unlikely to start until March at the earliest.

The transmission and distribution operators recently stated that smart metering and a remote (ripple) control mechanism were primary technical prerequisites for securing stability and safety of the grid and would enable them to disconnect users whenever a critical limit in renewable energy absorption gets reached.

In a letter to the ministry, the operators requested a halt on the approval of new permits for residential photovoltaics (PVs) until an updated subsidy plan was announced requiring PVs and smart meters to be installed in tandem.

A 2018 decision of the energy regulatory authority (CERA) required installation of 400,000 meters, and the first installation, of 57,143 meters, was to have been completed by January 2021. By January this current year, almost 180,000 smart meters should have been installed with a budget of €17 million granted to EAC for this phase of the project.