The Smart Specification Working Group (SSWG) has expressed support for the UK government’s recently announced accelerated roll-out of smart meters. The Group was established in June 2010 by global smart energy system companies committed to helping British consumers benefit from smart energy, including Elster, Landis+Gyr, and Secure Meters. Recently, GE, Itron, Logica, SAP, Sensus, and Trilliant have joined the SSWG.
From the two heads are better than one strategy, Itron and Landis+Gyr will integrate each other’s smart grid communication technology into their own advanced meters. Integrating Landis+Gyr communications technology into the Itron CENTRON II meter, and Itron communications into the Landis+Gyr FOCUS AX-SD meter, significantly broadens the choices utilities have in deploying sophisticated metering systems.
Echelon, Elster, GE, Itron, Landis+Gyr, and Sensus have formed the Smart Meter Manufacturers’ Association of America (SMMAA). The non-profit organization will focus on advocacy work and education on the topic of smart meters. Each founding member company will having representatives on the board, with the president’s position rotating between companies.
Smart metering systems, which combine smart gas, electricity meters and visual display units into one metering system, have been installed in more than 18 000 UK homes. Natural gas accounts for more than half of domestic energy usage in many European markets, and therefore, a significant amount of household carbon emissions. With increased global demands for energy, volatile fuel costs and increasing CO2 emissions, the need for smart gas metering has never been greater.
For all the well publicized sturm und drang in various municipalities by anti-smart meter advocates, the global smart meter industry continues to gain momentum. Meter manufacturers shipped nearly five million meters in the first quarter of 2011, a year-to-year increase of 22.7 percent. The numbers mark the second highest quarter of shipments to date, just behind the record 5.1 million meters shipped in the second quarter of 2010.
Landis+Gyr has contracted with Hydro-Quebec to deploy its next generation digital smart meter network. The project enables Hydro-Quebec to improve grid reliability and will bring utility operational efficiencies. The deal is reported to be worth C$350.
Trilliant, which provides Smart Grid communications that enhance energy efficiency, utility operations and renewable resource integration, has appointed technology veteran Salim Khan as Chief Operating Officer.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has announced it will replace some of Landis+Gyr’s electric SmartMeters because of a rare defect in the devices. Landis+Gyr reports the error affects fewer than 1,600 of the two million meters it supplied to PG&E. The utility will replace the meters at no cost to customers and issue full refunds to customers who received inaccurate bills.
In a response to consumers’ questions printed on Energy Source, Landis+Gyr CEO Cameron O’Reilly and the company’s UK and Ireland chief Steve Cunningham, said they believed British officials were seeing the glass half empty and being too pessimistic in their estimation on for how much impact smart meters could make with enabling consumers better manage power consumption.
Landis+Gyr and Itron have both announced positive results for the 2010 period. In the global smart metering sector, Landis+Gyr and Itron both recorded strong performances in 2010. Landis+Gyr shipped just under 6 million smart meters for residential applications, giving it a market share of 34%, while Itron’s share grew from a nadir of 6% in 2009 to an impressive 23%. Datamonitor believes that both are well-placed to capitalize on the burgeoning European market in the future.