A recent report by UK-based smart metering supplier Sentec estimates that the number of smart meters installed in European homes is likely to accelerate swiftly over the next three years, with 70 percent deployment by 2015.

This increase in deployment means that energy companies are expected to face a growing amount of data and today, information management experts OpenText has warned that preparation measures must be put in place before the situation becomes problematic.

OpenText UK’s Energy and Utility lead, Mark Baillie, anticipates huge volumes of data as smart meter readings rise from 75 million a year, to 130 billion across Europe. “It is crucial that energy companies maintain consistent communication with households, across all channels including invoicing, mobile devices and in-house displays (IHDs) in order to realise the benefits and savings of smart meters,” he explained.

“Managing these communications, as well as the meter readings across multiple touch points and archiving them in a secure and safe content environment that can handle huge volumes, is without doubt the industry’s biggest business challenge.

“Smart metering installations must include the ability to present current and historical energy consumption data and information to consumers in a format that they understand, as well as securely record and transmit data.

“The utilities sector is growing organically and changing in new ways as a result of smart metering and other initiatives to increase energy efficiency. Energy companies will need to communicate more effectively with customers about their energy usage, not only to make these schemes work, but also to reduce our overall energy consumption and meet targets set by the EU,” concluded Baillie.

The Electricity Directive has put in place a requirement for 80 percent of European consumers to install a smart meter by 2020.