How is the smart meter market holding up since the stimulus grants of 2009 have mostly expired?
Is there still enough interest to march towards a smarter, more informed utility and customer?
The US smart meter industry has deployed, as of September 2014, roughly 50 million advanced meters over the years after the stimulus program was passed. This provided the initial boost for utilities to begin pilot programs or full-scale implementations across the country. The current penetration level snapshot according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports roughly 34% of all meters in the US have been installed to date. This leaves room for many future deployments…. The current installation landscape has been largely over shadowed by a handful of states like California and Texas. The three main investor owned utilities in Texas have all deployed advanced meter technology to the tune of almost 7.5 million meters! California has large adoption rates as well: roughly 12.5 million meters, aided by a very progressive utility commission. Those two states alone account for 20 million meters and 40% of all the meters installed in the US today.
So where do we look to fill the void and continue to advance smart meter deployments and the Smart Grid?
Large deployment programs are underway across the country. ComEd will be completing its deployment of 4 million meters over the next 4 years and AEP Ohio is also looking to move out of its pilot program into a state-wide deployment after regulatory approval. Large municipals like Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) are also looking to move beyond its pilot program. The general lag in deployment can be caused by a number of complex issues: the lack of coherent policy, state regulatory hurdles, the low price of electricity in certain US regions, and determining whether or not utilities have assets that have fully depreciated.
This infrastructure begins to lend its way to the real benefits to the utility and the customer: Green Button initiatives, Demand Response programs, enhanced reliability for the customer and better overall situational awareness for the utility.
The advanced meter market is not showing any signs of slowing down and the march to a smarter grid will continue to evolve as these technologies and features develop within the vendor community; utilities continue to push for regulatory approvals and the customers realize benefits.
Interested in discussing advanced meter deployments further and how we can help? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come stop by and see us at DistribuTECH Booth 620 Feb 2-5th.
Be sure to also follow West Monroe’s E&U team on Twitter: @WMPUtilities.