More than eight million smart electric meters have been installed on U.S. homes, according to a new report. Park Associates, an international market research firm, said July 14 that number amounts to more than six percent of all meters for residences, an important step toward the development of an electricity Smart Grid in the United States.
Smart meters are a new technology that allows consumers to view and manage their energy usage, resulting in an expected reduction in energy consumption on an individual basis. Smart meters identify electricity usage with more detail than conventional meters and relay that information back to the utility company for remote monitoring and billing. Unlike conventional meters, which only measure total energy use, smart meters provide information about when energy has been consumed; thus, allowing the utility to set rates based on time of day and season.
Parks’ report, Residential Management: Company, Alliance & Technology Profiles, profiles more than 60 companies, including component suppliers, metering solutions manufacturers, Smart Grid enablers, and technology support, which are developing technologies and implementing systems involved in connecting the new Smart Grid to homes. Parks conducted interviews with professional management and collected information from public sources, the utility industry, and home systems market information.
The number of smart meters installed on U.S. homes should reach 33 million in two years, Smartmeters.com says Parks’ report concludes. Smart Grid systems have already been implemented in some European countries, Australia and New Zealand.