Smart electricity meters will become mandatory for small businesses in two years

The Ministry of Energy allowed the smallest commercial consumers of electricity not to install smart electricity meters for another two years due to a shortage of metering devices against the backdrop of sanctions. A transition to smart metering will begin in 2025 and will last three years, which is necessary for a more accurate calculation of consumption volumes and electricity prices, the Ministry assures. The cost of replacing old meters, according to experts, may exceed 1 billion rubles. However, the effects will be negligible, according to business representatives who are pointing to a too minor share of small consumers. The Ministry of Energy agreed to postpone the transfer of the smallest non-residential electricity consumers to smart electricity meters until 2025. The Ministry initially wanted to launch the reform in 2023, but energy companies convinced officials that due to the shortage of imported components against the backdrop of sanctions, there would be problems with the supply of metering devices. The updated draft resolution of the Ministry of Energy is published at According to Kommersant’s information, the document has been discussed within the framework of the task force on “regulatory guillotine.”

We are talking about the so-called small points of supply: these are objects on low and medium voltage power grids (less than 10 kV), which may include, for example, small businesses. Consumption at such “small points” is now taken into account by simple integrated meters, which “creates conditions for the opacity of consumption volumes,” according to the explanatory note to the draft resolution. The increase in consumption volumes for them over three years is 44%, the explanatory note says, but the exact volume of their consumption in physical terms, or at least the share in total consumption in the Russian Federation, is not indicated. The Ministry of Energy did not respond to Kommersant’s request.

The ministry wants usual meters at all “small points” of supply to be replaced in three years (by 2028) with smart meters with hourly metering and online transmission of readings. This is necessary “to ensure correctness of commercial metering results that affect the financial performance of all subjects in the energy market.”

“The issue is not significant enough to force its solution,” according to the “Community of Energy Consumers” (that unites industrial consumers of electricity). “The companies’ expenses to update and keep metering of “small points” will be considerable, but fruitless, as the effects in terms of improving accuracy of calculations are negligible, while similar metering systems will eventually be duplicated on the side of grids and retail companies, and the costs are included in the tariff for consumers.”

The meter for “small points” costs 27–90 thousand rubles, according to estimates of Insist Energo association. The cost of meter operation and communication services is 1.32 thousand rubles per year.

At the same time, Kommersant’s source on the market emphasizes that meter replacement usually requires replacement of instrument transformers, switching devices and other equipment. In addition, the owner of the meter must maintain continuous operation of communication channels, which also requires staff expenses.

The Association of Guaranteed Suppliers and Energy Service Companies told Kommersant that they had a number of disagreements with the Ministry of Energy, which they “settled on the condition that the issues of participation in the wholesale energy market will be worked out in detail with a new approach to organizing measurements without metrology.” The current revision of the draft resolution assumes that a small-scale consumer installing a new meter will be exempt from metrological verification obligations (carried out once every 16 years, according to one of Kommersant’s sources). Judging by the Association’s review published on the SovetBezRynka Telegram channel, energy service companies were against the exemption, since it “provides stakeholders with the opportunity to obtain the status of a wholesale energy market entity.”