Will China do to metering what it did to solar panels?
By Jesse Berst
Will low-cost Chinese meters eventually force out equipment made in the U.S. and Europe? Earlier this year, we saw China-affiliated Glen Canyon launch an inexpensive smart meter for the North American market. But most analysts predict it will take a few years - at the earliest - for Chinese meters to penetrate the staid and slow-to-change market here.
A more grave threat may be embodied in Monday's announcement (see the press release on page 2) that Chinese giant Huawei is teaming with Landis+Gyr to attack the UK market. Most U.S.-based metering companies have long assumed that Europe would provide their next wave of growth. But European utilities may prove more willing to incorporate Chinese technology. At best, the North American companies will have to slash prices and margins. At worst, they could be priced out altogether.
Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com. He consults to smart grid companies seeking market entry advice and M&A advisory. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the US and abroad, he also serves on the Advisory Council of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Energy & Environment directorate.
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Huawei and Landis+Gyr sign Collaboration Agreement to jointly develop smart metering solutions
Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology ("ICT”) solutions provider, today announced it has signed a collaboration agreement with Landis + Gyr, a global provider of integrated energy management products and the world’s leader in smart metering.
The agreement will see the two companies form a strategic partnership to jointly develop smart metering and smart grid solutions targeted for commercial launch from mid 2012 onwards.
Under Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) plans, every home and business in the UK will be fitted with a smart meter by 2019. The national roll-out will transform the relationship between energy supplier and consumer, paving the way for the development of a low-carbon "smart grid”.
Landis+Gyr and Huawei’s immediate focus will be to support the UK’s roll-out through the joint development of a universal communications hub that will provide a common solution for every home in the country and offer energy utilities worldwide the opportunity to optimise the deployment of hundreds of millions of smart meters. A joint innovation centre and product development plan will be set up to pursue opportunities in the wider market, such as smart homes and cities.
‘‘This is a very significant partnership for two reasons,” said Steve Cunningham, UK & Ireland CEO at Landis+Gyr. "Firstly, it confirms that the ICT industry is now taking an active stake in the development of smart energy solutions and secondly, it again demonstrates the willingness of the biggest names in industry to embrace collaboration in the pursuit of effective, open and cost efficient smart metering solutions.”
‘‘We are very excited to be exploring the energy sector together with Landis+Gyr,” said Tim Watkins, Vice President of Huawei Europe.
‘‘Huawei has rich experience in the ICT business and has been working with many vertical energy industry customers across the world, but the collaboration with Landis+Gyr is the first major breakthrough for us in the UK.’’
Landis+Gyr is currently working with British Gas on the UK’s first major deployment of smart meters.
Landis+Gyr is the leading global provider of integrated energy management products tailored to energy company needs and unique in its ability to deliver true end-to-end advanced metering solutions.
Today, the Company offers the broadest portfolio of products and services in the electricity metering industry, and is paving the way for the next generation of smart grid. More information is available at www.landisgyr.com
Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Through our dedication to customer-centric innovation and strong partnerships, we have established end-to-end advantages in telecom networks, devices and cloud computing. For more information, visit Huawei online: www.huawei.com