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Summary:

Despite some of the push back from a very vocal but tiny group, smart meters in the U.S. are coming — and fast. According to research group NPD, 75 percent of the electric meters in the U.S. will be smart digital meters by 2016.

Portlandsmartmeter

Despite some of the push back from a very vocal but tiny group, smart meters in the U.S. are coming — and fast. According to research group NPD, 75 percent of the electric meters in the U.S. will be smart, digital meters by 2016.

Other research groups have predicted that the rate of the installation of smart meters will be a bit slower in the U.S. Last year Berg Insight predicted that the penetration rates for smart meters would reach 50 percent by 2016 in the U.S. and close to 100 percent by 2020.

According to a report last year from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), referencing data from the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the penetration rate for smart meters was at around 13 to 18 percent as of late 2011. Back in 2009, the penetration rate was about 6.5 percent for smart meters in the U.S.

Part of this smart meter push came via the $4 billion in funding from the stimulus package. President Obama had a goal back in 2009 to have 40 million smart meters and 3,000 miles of transmission lines installed. NPD also says that because the stimulus money has been allocated and is being spent, there was a peak of smart meter installation growth in 2011, and the rate of installation will be slower in the coming years.

Silver Spring Networks, one of the largest smart meter network companies in the U.S., has 22 million connected devices under management as of March, up from the 17 million connected smart-grid devices it disclosed it was connecting in December 2011.

NPD also says in its report:

  • Globally, smart meter revenue will surpass $12 billion in 2016.
  • ZigBee is the smart meter home-area network technology leader, while powerline and wireless are leading for smart meter backhaul.
  • China will deploy 280 million smart meters by 2016.

Images courtesy of Portland General and FERC.

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  1. Katie, what’s your definition of a smart electric meter? My house has one that allows the utility to read it from a vehicle that drives through the neighborhood, but otherwise it’s no different from a traditional meter. Does that qualify as a smart meter?

    1. A smart meter records the real time use of power & allows the utility to bill based on the hourly price of electricity vs just totalaling the monthly consumption & estimating average time of use.

  2. I hope NPD is right, but my own research suggests that only about 40% (60 million) of U.S. electricity customers will have smart meters by 2016. This is unfortunate, because the other 60% will not be enjoying the energy information, pricing options, and other savings and efficiency opportunities of the smart meters. For my data see http://www.emeter.com/smart-grid-watch/2012/obama-smart-meter-report-only-counts-federally-funded-meters/.

  3. I could not find any of this data on the NPD website. Has anyone else seen the supporting data?

    1. Katie Fehrenbacher James Wednesday, March 21, 2012

      @James, the report in reference is described on this page: http://www.in-stat.com/catalog/wcatalogue.asp?id=66#IN1104731WH

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