FOCUS- The connected box, which regularly causes controversy, is now installed in 90% of French homes connected to the Enedis network.
One might think that the revolution of networked electricity meters is behind us. Since the first experiments in 2010, almost 90% of households that have subscribed to the network have been equipped with a Linky meter, that is 34.5 million homes across the country. However, the little green box continues to capture the imagination and regularly stirs up controversy. Most recently, changing the way electric water heaters are controlled for certain households. The much-criticized counter still plays a rather marginal role in the device.
Linky usage is actually very scrutinized. The epithets “clever” Where “connected» as it is often called, means that it can accurately count the household’s total consumption. Enedis customer director Éric Salomon emphasizes the global nature of the measures taken by the meter. “Linky is unable to know the differentiated consumption of each device or room. Impossible to know if you watch a lot of TV, for example, or how often your oven turns.he explains.
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The readings, however accurate, are quantitative and not qualitative. This technological capacity has allowed electric utilities to bill based on actual household consumption rather than estimates as was the case prior to the Linky era.
In concrete terms, the Linky meter transmits the household’s consumption in kWh to the Enedis IT department every month. This data is fully encrypted according to the framework established by the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL). “This allows us to guarantee that our customers’ data will not be hacked”, says Eric Salomon. Coming back to the Enedis IT department, the data circulate over the electrical network cables and not over the Internet, an additional guarantee of their preservation. After receipt by Enedis, the data is transmitted to the suppliers in order to initiate invoicing.
By default, the installation only allows this monthly reporting of the household electricity consumption in KWh. “But there is a second, more detailed scheme, defines the framework of Enedis. The customer can request that his Linky meter not measure every month, but every week, every day and up to every half hour. The double consent of the customer towards Enedis and his electricity supplier is essential, emphasizes Éric Salomon. And if the customer does not give their consent, Enedis does not have half-hourly access to these consumption bills. “The data remain in the meter, they are the property of the customer”assures the director of the clientele.
According to Enedis, this option has two advantages. First, the real-time monitoring of consumption facilitates the adoption of eco-gestures and energy savings; then suppliers can offer contracts that are better suited to their customers’ actual consumption. “Thanks to Linky, the electricity supplier price list now contains around ten indices. The more sophisticated offers adapt to the different customers»greets Nicolas Goldberg, engineer and energy consultant at Colombus Consulting.
The Linky Meter makes remote maintenance possible. By sending a simple signal, called “Ring”, the maintenance technician can diagnose the fault in a few minutes over the phone. The technician does not have to be on site, which saves the user a lot of time and money.
The Linky meter also facilitates self-consumption. Its technology allows, like any electricity meter, to measure both the energy requested from the grid and the energy redistributed in the grid. Experts call this bidirectionality. A house with solar panels generates electricity. In summer, the electricity produced can exceed consumption; This excess is then dumped into the network. A few years ago, self-consumption houses had to install two electromechanical meters. Today, a single Linky meter is enough. “The Linky meter supports the energy transition by enabling new uses”She defends Eric Salomon.
According to Nicolas Goldberg, Linky have meters “the blindness of Enedis cured in the network of individuals”. The technology embedded in these green boxes can detect a small change in the electrical signal on the network. Users don’t notice it because the disturbances are so small, but such data allows Enedis to ensure better maintenance of its network. “Previously, network maintenance was done a little blindly depending on the age of the installations”, says the energy specialist. Significant savings were achieved, denoted as “precious” by Nicolas Goldberg, who recalls that Enedis is a subsidiary of EDF, a public company.
Seven years after the launch campaign, the Linky meter still suffers from a bad reputation. Due to resistance from septic tanks, 3.8 million Linky meters remain to be installed in France.