Brazilian smart metering dead on arrival?


By Jesse Berst


One of SGN's long-time readers sent this to me with the subject line "Dumb-a** Idea of the Month." I thought I would pass it along to you and get your reactions in our Tuesday Topic discussion forum. As explained in a story, meters in Brazil will be installed only on request from existing customers.


Under regulations approved last week, utilities are required to offer a smart meter option to customers within 18 months. But the meters will not be mandatory for existing customers, only for new installations.


In a statement, Brazil’s National Agency of Electrical Energy (Aneel) claimed the rollout would bring many benefits to consumers... but virtually all the benefits named are those that matter to utilities, not to end users. Aneel even cited reduction of non-technical losses as a consumer benefit.


Let's see. Anecdotally, Brazilian utilities lose 10-30% of their power to theft. And Aneel thinks that Brazilian consumers will volunteer for new meters that will be able to detect that theft?


As several financial analysts have pointed out already, this is "bad news for the smart metering industry." Observers expected Aneel to require that most of Brazil's 65 million meters be replaced. Under the new regulations, they will be lucky to achieve half that.


Do you agree? Was my reader right that this qualifies for the Dumb-a** Idea of the Month? Let's have a conversation about it in our Tuesday Topic forum. I'm eager to hear what you have to say. Jump to the forum now >>