ENERGYBIZ MAGAZINE 53
Automated Metering is About to Undergo Explosive Growth
THE AUTOMATED METERING INDUSTRY IS UNDERGOING MANY CHANGES THAT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT ITS FUTURE. WHAT MARKET DYNAMICS WILL COME INTO PLAY?
By Howard Scott
Many vendors in the automated metering industry claim to
have a product that is different than automatic meter reading (AMR). Those claims seem to be an effort to differentiate their products in the marketplace and can be confusing to observers who are unfamiliar with the full range of vendor offerings. In every instance, the vendors are providing an enhanced meter reading technology that offers advantages over manual meter reading. Obviously, all of these vendors are competitors. When a utility selects one vendor for all of its meters, it’s unlikely to consider an alternative for many years. So those of us who are impartial and provide insights and direction to the industry are thus challenged to explain what’s in front of us. Our approach has been to refer to all of these products as “automated metering.” This definition encompasses the full range of technologies from drive-by to the most sophisticated advanced metering alternatives. This definition is even broader than AMR-like offerings; it includes prepayment metering, submetering, and in some instances even SCADA. The intent is to be able to address all technologies and product offerings that automate the meter reading process and would encompass the range of offerings from which a utility would choose.
A broad range of information supports the theory that this industry is undergoing rapid growth, including the following highlights: Penetration into existing meters has reached significantly high levels. The rate of deployment growth in key industry segments has been in double digits for many consecutive years. Requests for proposal (RFPs) by many utilities have been released recently....