Landis+Gyr today announced it will provide a “major portion” of the 5 million smart meters set to roll out to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) customers over the next four years as part of its $1.7 billion SmartMeter program.
A person with knowledge of the deal told us Landis+Gyr will provide about half the meters for the PG&E program at a cost of about $100 per meter, putting the total value of the contract in the neighborhood of $250 million.
Under the agreement, PG&E plans to deploy the Switzerland-based company’s Focus meters to residential and small business customers in Northern and Central California. The company has already been involved in PG&E’s program through its partially-owned subsidiary Ecologic Analytics, which provides a meter data management solution.
“National demand for electricity is growing three times faster than power resources are being added,” said Richard Mora, president & CEO of Landis+Gyr’s North American division, in the release. “So energy conservation is critical. Through its broad deployment of smart metering technology, PG&E is empowering its customers to make smart energy choices and save money.”
While smart meters are a step toward better energy management, Wired writer Alexis Madrigal last week rightly took issue with all the hyperbolic claims surrounding smart metering’s abilities. For as he recently learned in the process of having a smart meter installed into his own home:
Though he installed the meter yesterday, it wouldn’t do anything special for PG&E or me until the transmitters went in to create the network through which my meter would communicate with the world. And the transmitters wouldn’t be in for a couple of years.
That said, meters are a key piece of the infrastructure. They will (eventually) provide a two-way flow of data between customer meters and utility back-end systems, which allows utilities to offer more sophisticated pricing, curtail peak energy use through automated solutions, and integrate some of the great smart energy technology we’ve written about before.
Landis+Gyr recently inked a four-year, $360 million contract with Texas utility Oncor, a $10 million deal with Idaho Power, and a $52 million deal with Arizona utility Salt River Power. The company says it has annual sales of more than $1.25 billion in 30 countries worldwide.
If you found this post interesting you might also be interested in Earth2Tech’s first Briefing, The Smart Energy Home.