Smart Meter Manufacturers and Utilities Reap Benefits of U.S. Stimulus Package

Press Release
Jul 16, 2010

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Smart Meter Manufacturers and Utilities Reap Benefits of U.S. Stimulus Package

New York, July 16, 2010 “Trilliant and competitors such as Itron Inc., the largest U.S. maker of utility meters, are beginning to benefit from the $4.5 billion in stimulus funds the Obama administration directed toward smart grids to improve efficiency and accommodate electric vehicles and rooftop solar panels, reports the Washington Post in a July 15th article. Trilliant Chief Executive Officer Andrew White told the Washington Post, “There's been an avalanche of requests from utilities; we're getting about one a week."

This comes as no surprise to market research publisher, SBI Energy who in a market study published last month estimated the value of the United States smart meter market at $6 billion for 2010.  “Our projections see robust growth across the board in smart meters. U.S. smart meter value will triple over 2009 to reach $15 billion by 2014,” notes Smart Grid and Consumers report author David Cappello.

Like Trilliant, SBI Energy has seen the increase in installation numbers of advanced two-way smart meters.  Current trend trajectories show gigantic increases over the current decade (2010-2019). For the United States, smart meter installations are projected to rise from one-fourth to one-half of all approximately 120 million residential electrical accounts. The aggregate U.S. projections are as follows:
• 25 million by 2012;
• 40 million by 2015;
• 60 million by 2019.

Utilities embarking on a smart grid program have thus far taken it upon themselves to settle the upfront costs for smart meters and their installation—a cost typically ranging from $100 to $200 per meter. In turn, they are passing these costs back to ratepayers in the form of surcharges, SBI Energy reports. PG&E performed an initial rollout of 4 million smart meters, for example, recouping its $1.7 billion investment via rate hikes. Similarly, Xcel is doing its best to recover as much of its investment in the SmartGridCity.

The current grid is dilapidated and urgently needs to be upgraded. Improvements will mean shifting from analog to digital. The smart meter is a crucial component of this digital advance, ultimately providing a platform for dramatic energy savings.

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