In an interview with the Silicon Valley’s Mercury News, eMeter CEO Gary Bloom discussed the future of the smart meter market. “The vast majority of large utilities in the United States have done smart grid projects, and now smaller municipal utilities are doing them as well. In Europe, regulators are playing a more active role in telling the utilities what to do. Things will move more quickly abroad. Europe will not do small trials and pilots—the winning and losing companies are becoming apparent. We have a customer in Taiwan: ITRI, the Industrial Technology Research Institute. If you roll the clock forward 20 years, the United States will have paid the price for being the innovators, and Latin America, Asia and Europe will be the beneficiaries.
Bllom also notes that there are lessons to be learned from PG&E’s deployment troubles. “A In many ways, PG&E has been the guinea pig for everyone else, but they have become a symbol in the marketplace of what can go wrong. PG&E started with the meters and then added
the software capability much later. There’s been a lot of backlash from consumers, which has generated a lot of news stories, and the backlash from the press can be incredibly damaging. PG&E did not start with customer engagement: The main driver was a desire to eliminate meter readers. We think going to a smart grid without customer engagement is a huge mistake.”