PARIS – The global installed base of smart electricity meters will double by the end of 2016, driving the base of communicating meters to about 35 percent penetration, according to market research firm IHS.
In its latest report, The World Market for Smart Electricity Meters – 2012, IHS indicated that under 18 percent of the 1.43 billion installed meters were communicating at the end of 2011. Meters then ranged from older one-way Advanced Meter Reading technology to GPRS-enabled commercial and industrial meters, to residential smart two-way meters.
IHS said it expects that a mix of fixed network technologies will now be installed globally, from simpler RS485-wired types to next generation smart two-way PLC-OFDM meters.
According to IHS, global advanced meter shipments are expected to remain stable from 2012 through 2014 and grow strongly in 2015 when expected European advanced metering projects go online.
In the long term, IHS said it anticipates that the global smart meter market will depend on developing economies such as China, Brazil and India. China is now considered as the “only significant market for advanced meters” with some 40 million advanced electricity meters shipped in 2011, the market researcher continued.
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Markides, IMS Research lead analyst, commented: “In the next five years, most developed countries and industrializing, developing nations will have thriving advanced electricity meter markets. Whether installed to save on labor costs, work in conjunction with other smart grid schemes, or curtail non-technical losses, utilities worldwide are accelerating their adoption of smart metering.”
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The key point is in the last paragraph - to save on labor costs. Whilst consumers will have to pay for installation (short term costs), expect power companies to make long term profits from sacking meter staff and some support staff. More for the multinationals, less for the consumer.
The problem is possible biological effects, if the meters use wireless communications to store or report usage.
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