Europe replaces 50% of electricity meters with smart models

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More than half of electricity meters in Europe are now smart, a new report released by Berg Insight has found.

The study states that the penetration of smart electricity meters has passed the 50% mark owing to increased investments in grid modernisation and digitalisation by utilities in the region.

In 2020, approximately 150 million smart electricity meters were installed with the bloc recording a 49% penetration rate, according to the study.

However, the installed base is expected to increase by 7.2% per annum through 2026. Berg Insights forecasts the number of smart electricity meters in Europe to increase to 227 million units by 2026.

The majority of countries in Western and Northern Europe have either completed or are at an advanced stage in smart meter rollout. This means smart meters that will be installed in the region will be part of second-generation deployments, according to Berg Insight.

Levi Ostling, a senior analyst at Berg Insight, said: “In fact, replacements of first-generation smart metering equipment are expected to account for nearly a third of the cumulative device shipments until 2026.”

Central Eastern and Southern Europe regions, which have been lagging behind Western and Northern Europe in terms of deployment over the past years, will possess the 10 fastest-growing markets in terms of first-generation deployments, according to the study.

Utilities are expected to increase their use of wireless communications technologies for smart meter data telemetry. The use of the wireless protocol in smart electricity meter projects is expected to increase from 25% in 2020 to 57% in 2026. This is owing to advancements in wireless communications solutions such as 3GPP-based LPWA services.

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Ostling, added: “NB-IoT and LTE-M communications have now had their commercial breakthrough in the European metering market and are being considered for a rapidly growing number of projects.”

The smart gas meters market is also expected to expand with installations increasing from 39 million units in 2020 to just over 70 million in 2026, according to the study.

Smart meters are a vital tool for European consumers and utilities at a time like now when energy prices continue to rise. The use of data acquired from advanced metering can be used to provide consumers with recommendations on how best they can optimise their energy usage and reduce bills. This is the aim of a new smart meter-enabled tool released by Samsung in late October. The tool, Samsung SmartThings Energy, enables consumers of any UK retailer to integrate their smart meter data with the tool to be able to remotely control the energy usage of their household home appliances from anywhere, for free.

Berg Insight’s launch of the report follows research firm Guidehouse Insights‘ prediction that global utilities will be increasing spending on smart meter analytics to optimise return on investments in advanced meters. Investments in smart meter analytics will increase by three times between 2021 and 2030 as utilities seek to enhance the management of distributed energy resources, consumer services and embed intelligence at the grid edge.

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