Meter-based systems penetration low, potentially dominant
Information and communications technology may spark a major shift in the balance of power among energy producers, utilities, commercial and industrial customers, and consumers over the next decade, according to a new study by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), “Capturing Value: The Future of Advanced Metering and Energy Information.”
“Like UPC codes, the SABRE travel reservation system, electronic trading systems and other examples, automated meter reading and computerized control systems will dramatically influence the way energy resources and power are bought and sold worldwide,” said Steve Taub, who headed the new metering study. “Those who control the meter will capture the benefits, but it is not at all clear yet who will fill this role.” Depending on the rate at which the cost of metering communication systems declines over the next 15 years, CERA projects that electric meter installations will grow at between 10 percent and 17 percent annually, while the total electric market expands just 1 percent per year. Natural gas meter installations are expected to rise between 16 percent and 26 percent annually, while the installed gas meter population grows just over 1 percent per year. As a result, CERA anticipates that by the year 2015, communications-equipped metering will be included in between one-fourth and two-thirds of U.S. electric meters, and in at least one-fifth and potentially all of U.S. gas meters.