In 2007, there were just under 1.6 billion electricity meters installed in the world, and annual demand was 122 million meters.

79 percent of the installed base consists of electromechanical meters and 21 percent are solid state. Six countries account for 54 percent of the world’s electricity meters – China, USA & Canada, India, Japan, Brazil, and Russia.

Key findings
The proportion of solid state meters is a substantial increase over 2006 with the rapid rates of conversion in China and India. The pattern of demand for meters is entering a new, fluctuating phase in some regions, similar to that of AMR in the USA in recent years, where intermittent large utility AMR contracts caused erratic patterns. The reason for fluctuating demand in the meter market is the switch from electromechanical to solid state meters, and up-grading to advanced meters.

The AMR market continues to develop but it is moving into a new phase. Utilities buying AMR facilities now want more that one-way communication; if they are going to invest in advanced meters, why buy half? They want full AMI capabilities with two-way communication. This is driving forward the solid state meter market in Europe and Asia but, paradoxically, it may retard the development of AMI in the USA because of the existing investment in one-way AMR infrastructure.

The switch to solid state meters takes three forms: government mandates for change as enacted by the governments of India, Iran, Sweden, Netherlands, California, Victoria in Australia, with more in the pipeline; large-scale utility deployments such as the Telegstore in Italy and many in the US; and smaller ad hoc deployments often starting with the C&I segment of the meter market and filtering down to residential meters.

The progress of advanced metering attracts varying opinions. Many see it as an inevitable technological development with many benefits. But there are those who believe that the cost benefits are so modest that only government legislation will drive it forward.

On the corporate front, important developments continue as the big meter companies reinvent themselves. To consolidate their advantage over the smaller meter companies the global meter giants are acquiring or being acquired by technology and software groups, so that they are not limited to selling meters but can offer total metering services. In this manner, the giants are exerting downwards pressure of the smaller meter companies. But new, aggressive meter companies from Central and Eastern Europe are making their mark and entering regional markets with wider international ambitions. The report also identifies meter companies which could be described as “outside the main orbit” of the international metering community but are potentially important because they serve large domestic markets and have established large manufacturing capabilities which are
increasingly sophisticated. Companies occupying the high ground today ignore these newcomers at their peril.

Report conclusions
The dynamics of meter demand are already changing in the short to medium term, but this change is going to accelerate in the next ten to fifteen years because the driving factors are shifting. Demand may rise substantially both in volume and value in about fifteen years, as the proportion of the solid state meter stock increases.

Solid state meters have a shorter life than the longer-lived electromechanical meters and are more costly. The net result will be a higher volume of replacements due to shorter age and a higher price to pay for them. Against this must be set the possibility of increases in the design life of solid state meters and a reduction in price. Given the long life of electromechanical meters and the large numbers of used meters in perfectly good condition which will be sloshing around in the global market place, we predict that a secondary market of electromechanical meters may remain in existence for many years after most of the world has converted to solid state metering, maintaining the old electromechanical meters by cannibalizing redundant stock.

Report scope

  • Meter market size
  • Market analysis and meter types
  • Market shares
  • AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) and AIM (Advanced Infrastructure Management)
  • Detailed surveys of the 29 largest electricity meter markets
  • Meter manufacturing companies
  • Metrology.

Report: US $3,135
Report and database: US $3,762

For further information, please contact Allan Young