Zpryme recently analyzed U.S. EIA Form 861 data on advanced meters to assess the overall penetration of smart meters in the U.S. At the end of 2016, the U.S. had 70.8 (47% penetration) million smart meters installed. This is a net increase of 7 million over 2015. The top 5 utilities by total smart meters installed are: PG&E (5.20M), Southern California Edison (5.02M), FPL (4.94M), Oncor (3.42M), and ComEd (3.04M).

Highlights from 2016 EIA 861 Data

  • As of 2016, 70.8 million smart meters have been installed in the U.S.
  • In 2016, the top 15 utilities ranked by the most smart meters accounted for 55% of all U.S. smart meters.
  • Only 11% of smart meters installations had a home area network (HAN) in 2016 while 60% of them had digital display access.
  • Only 8.6% of the U.S. Smart Grid Investment Grant funds were directed towards customer systems.

Customer Education and Engagement – the Next Wave of Investment for Utilities?

In looking at the smart meter and the U.S. Smart Grid Investment Grant data, we see that only a small fraction of dollars were put into customer engagement and education. With smart meters, HANs, and mobile energy data readily available, Zpryme sees a tremendous opportunity to tap into a residential consumer base who is increasingly embracing innovative ways to leverage data to provide them with a better experience. Our research shows that about 20% of U.S. adults are engaging with their electricity consumption via a mobile device. Certainly, most utilities understand the importance of digitally engaging with their consumers, but in order to fully leverage smart grid infrastructure utilities must now make consumers the focal point of the the energy transformation equation.

Will we see billion dollar investments on consumer engagement and education like we did with AMI infrastructure in the near future? Or even millions? Or maybe the better question we should be asking is: Who are the target end users of the smart grid? Is it utilities, grid operators, consumers, or was it society at large?

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Total Smart Meters Installed in the U.S., 2007 – 2016 (in millions)

Source: EIA 861 Data, 2007 – 2016.

Top 15 U.S. Utilities by Total Smart Meters Installed, 2016 (in millions)

Source: EIA 861 Data, 2007 – 2016.

Percent of U.S. AMI Meters with HAN or Digital Access, 2016

Source: EIA 861 Data, 2007 – 2016.

U.S. ARRA Smart Grid Investments by Technology Segment

Source: U.S. SGIG Data.