Submetering and heat metering – New prospects for sustainable development

July 19th, 2021

Two national decrees have recently been issued, detailed below, which introduce innovations on heat metering with a view to sustainable development.

The market for water and thermal energy meters is currently divided into two large sectors: one deals with utilities and larger meters on the main distribution lines and one covers sub-metering and apartment building meters located in each single housing unit.

Sub-metering includes all water and energy (heat) metering and management activities carried out downstream of the utility’s delivery point, enabling, for example, consumption metering for individual apartments in a building.

Sub-metering solutions provide information on actual rather than assumed consumptions and, as a result, allow consistent data-driven cost-sharing. They provide greater control at all levels, by the building management, by the utility and by end users. An additional advantage for end users is the greater awareness acquired which will, in turn, empower them to better control usage and save resources.

To get to the heart of the matter, let’s look at what Europe and Italy are doing in terms of greater energy efficiency and awareness.

Innovations on heat metering

Recently, as it is well known, two national decrees have been issued in Italy introducing innovations on heat metering. These are the Legislative Decree no. 93 of 21 April 2017 defining new rules on how and how often instruments are checked, and the Legislative Decree no. 73 of 14 July 2020 implementing the Directive (EU) 2018/2002 amending the Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency.

The first, Legislative Decree 93/2017, applies to checks on measuring instruments subject to national and European regulations used for legal measurement functions. It therefore refers to all MID instruments, i.e. thermal energy meters and water meters (including divisional meters) and provides for three levels of checks, including:
• Periodic verification to be carried out in MID MI004-accredited laboratories
• Random or on-demand checks carried out by the Chambers of Commerce on instruments in service to ensure their correct operation
• Supervision of instruments subject to national or European legislation, in order to ensure that they have undergone the necessary conformity assessment procedures when placed on the market or imported.

The second, Legislative Decree 73/2020, addresses specifically the following issues:
Remotely readable devices
Consumption and billing information
Cost allocation criteria

The Eu Directive

The EU Directive has basically set mandatory dates for certain stages:

  • The first date, 25th October 2020, has already passed.
    The Directive requires that devices (divisional water meters and thermal energy meters) installed after that date must be remotely readable.
  • 1st January 2022: the Directive requires that information based on the consumption or readings of these devices must be provided at least monthly.
  • 1st January 2027: from this date, all existing devices must be remotely readable; any other devices in the field must be replaced, and metering systems without remote reading will no longer be allowed.

In order to understand and correctly apply the amendments to Legislative Decree 102/2014 (and without prejudice to the need for all measuring devices to comply with the MID regulation) it is necessary to remember the guiding European principle: putting energy efficiency first. Without this centrality, some legislative requirements might be subject to misunderstandings.

From a technical point of view

From a technical point of view, some open questions still remain. The Directive requires remote reading systems (i.e. without access to individual housing units) but leaves it to the member states to express themselves, with a specific transposition, which systems are to be actually considered mobile systems. The Italian state has not yet expressed itself on walk-by and drive-by systems as remote metering systems, and this creates some uncertainty.

Systems of heat metering

For its part, Maddalena Spa offers a range of water and thermal energy meters capable of meeting all measurement requirements, from domestic users to more complex district heating systems and industrial applications. These instruments are certified in accordance with the MID Directive, compliant to European standard EN 1434 and applying the most modern technologies available.
Maddalena Spa also offers the most advanced solutions to enable meters to connect and exchange data with different types of networks through fixed and mobile remote reading devices, confirming full compatibility with the European wM-Bus standard (EN 13757) and the OMS specification.

Proximity reading with walk-by or drive-by operators allows the location of meters to be identified and read immediately at low cost. Installing fixed AMR remote reading devices, instead, allows data to be received at regular intervals and without the need for field readers.

This meets the requirements set out by Legislative Decree 73/2020 that states that billing or consumption information must be be provided at least monthly, and no longer quarterly or twice a year, based on whether requested or not.

Maddalena’s product range, therefore, offers a variety of meter solutions and remote reading systems ready to meet regulatory requirements.


Thermal energy


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