Smart meter market: half full or half empty?
By: SGN Staff
By Jesse Berst
A new report from research firm Zpryme says half of all U.S. utilities are "very familiar" with smart meters. So is the glass half full or half empty? Most smart meter vendors see it as half empty, believing that sales to the second half will be much slower than to the first half, which had the benefit of stimulus funding.
On the other hand, the report includes some news that could be positive. Roughly 20% of utilities are aware of smart gas and 15% of smart water. Those two areas could be great growth opportunities for those vendors that sell smart meters in those two flavors as well.
We disagree, however, from the survey finding that the top smart meter benefit for utilities is "better peak energy usage control." We think the biggest long-term benefit will be better reliability and better asset management... but those benefits will take years to appear, since most utilities are just now beginning to turn smart meter data toward those uses.
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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.