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U.S. Electric Utility Customer Base Now Exceeds 150 Million

Dec. 14, 2017
Installations of smart meters have more than doubled since 2010, per the Dec. 7, 2017 EIA report, while slower growth is the norm for demand response and energy efficiency

According to recently-released EIA data, almost half of all U.S. electricity customer accounts now have smart meters. By the end of 2016, U.S. electric utilities had installed about 71 million advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meters, covering 47% of the 150 million electricity customers in the United States.

In contrast to two-way AMI, the second-largest category of meters is one-way Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMR), a category for which meter installations peaked in 2012 at 48 million units installed.  The total AMR population of meters nationwide over last four years has wavered between 46 and 47 million total units.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Smart meters have two-way communication capability between electric utilities and customers. One-way meter-to-utility communication, also known as automated meter reading (AMR), was more prevalent before 2013. Since then, two-way AMI smart meter installations have been more common based on data collected in EIA’s annual electric utility surveys.

Two-way AMI meters allow utilities and customers to interact to support smart consumption applications using real-time or near real-time electricity data. Smart meters can support demand response and distributed generation, improve reliability, and provide information that consumers can use to save money by managing their use of electricity.

AMI data provide utilities with detailed outage information in the event of a storm or other system disruption, helping utilities restore service to customers more quickly and reducing the overall length of electric system outages.

While the EIA data has shown a healthy growth rate for AMI, equaling about 10% a year, the EIA data on uptake of demand response programs continues to show low or no growth, with total enrolled customers hovering just over 9 million as shown below:

The EIA Annual Electric Outlook just released on Dec 7, 2017 is at this link.

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