Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Advanced Metering - a Growing Trend

The meter industry is poised for the most important technological development since the introduction of the Ferraris induction meter over a century ago. Replacement of electromechanical meters with basic solid state meters has already started. This trend has now been overtaken by a development which has been brewing for several years but in the last 12 to 18 months has taken a significant step forward to reality. This is the introduction of advanced or intelligent metering, with which energy providers and consumers communicate with each other. Advanced metering offers benefits such as, planning for lower energy consumption, demand management to reduce peak load, lower supplier costs, lower consumer bills, fewer GHG emissions, better service to the consumers, additional services for customers. Recent studies record modest cost benefit savings from 0% to 20%, with an average of 5% to 10%. But take note, the global stock of electromechanical meters is carried on utility books at installation value of some $20 billion, with a 20-30 year straight-line depreciation. For any utility, the write-off of this large asset would involve a huge accounting loss. Replacement is likely to be
phased over many years.


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