Almost half of U.S. electricity customers have smart meters and the market will continue to grow
Energize Weekly, December 13, 2017
Nearly half of all electricity customers in the U.S. now have so-called smart meters, paving the way for enhanced grid management, and the pace of installations is projected to continue.
Installations of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meters have more than doubled since 2010 with 71 million of the country’s 150 million electricity customers having one, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual electric utilities survey.
GTM Research projects that $20 billion will be spent on meters and analytics in North America through 2021.
Smart meters enable two-way communication between utilities and customers, and they can collect detailed data on energy use and patterns in real time or near real time. The meters give customers data that help them manage their electricity consumption.
Still, many residential customers may not be aware that they have a smart meter. In 2015, when 44 percent of the county had smart meters, an EIA survey found that 22 percent of household reported having an AMI meter, 49 percent said they did not have one, and 29 percent of respondents did not know.
Only 8 percent of households were aware that they had access to hourly or daily data, and only 4 percent said they had accessed or viewed that data.
For utilities, AMI provides greater oversight of the grid, with better data on outages, the ability to better manage distributed generation, such as rooftop solar, and improved billing. The AMI growth markets are meters and infrastructure and back office and grid edge customer analytics, according to GTM Research.
In 2016, Washington, D.C., had the highest AMI penetration with 97 percent of customers having a smart meter. In Nevada, 96 percent of customers had AMI meters.
There were six states with AMI penetration rates above 80 percent: Maine, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, California and Vermont.
Texas added the most residential AMI meters of any state, installing smart meters on more than 200,000 customer accounts. New York and West Virginia had the lowest penetration with less than 1 percent of customers having smart meters.
“Differences in smart meter penetration rates are often driven by state legislation and regulation, as some states require that regulators approve utilities’ cost recovery mechanisms for metering projects,” the EIA said.