* France, Britain going ahead, Germany is not - EU report
* EU won't reach 80 pct roll out goal, 72 pct achievable
BRUSSELS, June 20 Sixteen of the European
Union's 28 nations will go ahead with a large-scale roll out of
smart meters by 2020, meaning the bloc will fall short of a
target for use of the devices that can cut energy usage, a
European Commission report said.
Unlike old-style meters with spinning dials still used in
many European homes, smart meters give real-time consumption
data that can encourage consumers to reduce usage. They also
eliminate costly meter reading visits.
But their introduction in Europe has been held back by
debate over who will pay for them - the utilities or the
consumers - as well as by opposition from some consumer groups.
On the basis of a cost-benefit analysis, the European Union
has a 2020 goal to roll out smart meters across 80 percent of
the electricity users for whom the cost analysis is positive.
The Commission report, seen by Reuters, found that would not
be met, but said 72 percent was achieveable, as 16 member states
proceed with the large-scale roll-out by 2020 or earlier.
Of the major EU nations, Britain and France are included in
the 16, but Germany is not.
There is also an issue over whether smart meters are
delivering the right kind of real-time data on consumption.
In only eight of the 16 states are the smart meters being
deployed fully in line with EU recommendations on functionality.
EU law does not set any specific target for smart meters for
gas, although it refers to a "reasonable period of time". Just
five member states have decided to roll out smart meters for gas
by 2020 or earlier.
Landis+Gyr, the world's biggest maker of power meters for
utilities, which is owned by Japan's Toshiba Corp, said
even a 72 percent roll out was "extremely optimistic" because of
the long lead time required.
The Commission, the EU executive, says smart metering can
enable consumers to reduce energy use by some 3 percent, in line
with EU goals to increase energy efficiency.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Mark Potter)