Asia to deploy more than 570 million smart electricity meters

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A new report released by research firm Berg Insight explores the deployment of smart electricity meters in China, India, Japan and South Korea between 2021 and 2025.

Some 572.3 million smart electricity meters will be deployed in China, India, Japan and South Korea between 2021 and 2025, according to the study.

Overall smart meter penetration stood at 69% in these markets, corresponding to an installed base of 653.3 million units at the end of 2019.

China is expected to account for as much as 70–80% of smart electricity meter demand across Asia in the next few years with refreshment rounds replacing early smart meter installations now beginning at a larger scale in the country.

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This demand continues to be fulfilled entirely by domestic manufacturers of which many have now grown to match the largest global smart metering players in terms of output and revenues.

While China has already completed first-wave rollouts, Japan and South Korea will be the next markets to reach nationwide coverage with likely completion in the next 3–4 years.

India, on the other hand, had only reached a penetration of around 1% at the end of 2020 but is expected to be the main driver behind overall smart meter penetration growth in Asia-Pacific in the coming years.

The Indian smart metering market has in recent time faced difficulties in ramping up its smart metering deployments.

Levi Ostling, smart metering analyst at Berg Insight, said: “Ambitious targets to roll out some 250 million smart meters within just a few years’ time has so far failed to materialise, with the installed base of such devices merely doubling over the past two years to reach a modest 3 million units at the end of 2020.”

India has however been severely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and heavy lockdowns meant that smart meter deployments were at a complete standstill during the greater part of 2020.

During the second half of 2020, tender activity actually started to pick up pace and a new funding scheme tentatively called SAMARTH is currently under consideration by the government.

Overall, Berg Insight forecasts that the Indian market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 76.2% during the forecast period and account for as much as 15–20% of smart meter shipments in Asia in 2025.

“More advanced meter requirements along with growing demand for new use cases in the domestic market are now also strengthening the competitiveness of Chinese vendors in the global smart metering market.

“These vendors are now making strong inroads into fast-growing smart metering markets such as Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” reiterates Levi.