The increasing smart grid deployment, government policies supporting installation, and energy conservation facilitated by smart meters are the key growth drivers in the global market. Smart meters consist of digital displays for displaying detailed energy usage, and the cost related to the energy usage. With the detailed energy usage and cost displayed on digital display, the consumers are able to understand and act accordingly to conserve the energy For instance; the consumers adjust their consumption patterns when they discover the amount of power used and the cost of operation of the several appliances. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the U.K. estimated that smart meters can reduce energy bills by an average of $29 per household by 2020.
The major appliances in the home, such as washing machines can be automated with the help of smart meters. This allows such appliances to take various advantages, such as time-of-use tariffs. With the two-way communication offered between intelligent household appliances and meters, the consumers are able to make note of the power being consumed. By two-way communications, energy service provider or utilities are also able to control elements of the consumer’s usage for lowering their bill.
The North American smart meters market dominates the regions, due to government initiatives in allocating funds and mandating the installation of smart meters in a number of countries in the region. Southern Company, Oncor, Southern California Edison, and AEP are some of the major utility groups, which have committed for full-scale rollouts to all the consumers. The Asia-Pacific smart meters market is expected to grow with the highest rate in the coming years, due to supportive government initiative towards the implementation across several developing countries of the region. As part of a five year nationwide plan to upgrade grid infrastructure in Asia-Pacific, the utilities in China continue to install large numbers of smart meters in the country. The pilot projects are being introduced in India, which will support the deployment of meters on a large scale in the coming years.
Two of the major factors restraining the growth of the global market are lack of interoperability and lack of awareness about among consumers. Although, the awareness about smart meters is growing slowly among the consumers, but understanding the benefits offered by them is still limited among the consumers. This lack of understanding varies according to socio-economic status and age of the consumers. The competitors in smart meters market are using several methods for increasing awareness about the smart meters among the consumers. Paid channels are most effective way of raising awareness and supporting the consumers to understand the significance of using smart meters visually.. Interoperability is important for grid modernization, which will allow the end users and service providers to incorporate various technology solutions and capabilities; while supporting reliable operations at the same time. To overcome the lack of interoperability restraint, the industry experts and government are evolving interoperability through standards testing, development, and supporting policies.
The major companies operating in the global market include Itron Inc., Iskraemeco d.d., Landis+Gyr AG, Osaki Electric Co. Ltd., Elster Group GmbH, Siemens AG, General Electric Company, ICSA (India) Limited, Schneider Electric SA, and Holley Metering Ltd.
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