Roughly 15 years has elapsed since the world’s first smart metering rollouts began, and those meters are now approaching the end of their useful lives. The world’s first smart meter replacement deployments, in which utilities will retire old models to install new, second-generation advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) are now set to begin. This is being called the smart meter “refresh" market and will total $12.2 billion over the next decade, according to a new study published today by smart infrastructure market intelligence firm Northeast Group.
“The global smart meter refresh market has arrived. These second-generation rollouts will be concentrated initially in Italy, Scandinavia, the US and select other geographies,” according to Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group. “Unlike in first-time smart meter rollouts, there will be a wide variance in terms of how much of the AMI system a utility chooses to replace. Some will replace primarily the meters, but other utilities will replace everything, and that really changes costs across the board.”
According to Northeast Group’s new study, the top smart meter refresh markets will be Italy, the US, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and a scattering of other countries. A small number of these refresh rollouts have already begun, but the majority will begin in the early-to-mid 2020s, and preparations at utilities will precede rollouts by several years.
All of the most prominent global metering vendors are expected to compete for shares of this new market, many of which have pre-existing relationships with the utilities that are beginning refresh rollouts. Critically, most utilities are still expected to tender contracts competitively rather than simply renew with first-time suppliers. The prospect of selecting managed services (outsourcing AMI operations and, in some cases, asset ownership, to a vendor or third party) adds yet another dimension to the landscape of refresh rollout options. Aclara, ADD Grup, Honeywell, Iskraemeco, Itron, Kamstrup, Landis+Gyr, NES, Sagemcom, Sensus, Trilliant and others will compete for this market opportunity, both with each other and with new market entrants from China and elsewhere.