Smart meters are now the rule, rather than the exception, for U.S. electric utilities. According to a new report from the Edison Foundation, a utility-funded think tank, the country had installed 65 million smart meters as of 2015, and that figure is projected to rise to 70 million by the end of 2016, making up more than half of all households in the country.
Edison’s latest data on the blooming U.S. advanced metering infrastructure market only includes meters that can “measure and record electricity usage data hourly, or more frequently, and allow for two-way communication between the electric companies and their customers.” That excludes so-called “drive-by” meters, or automated meter reading (AMR) systems, which account for tens of millions more customers across the country.
Since they now outnumber their AMR or electromechanical ancestors, “smart meters are the new business as usual” for utilities, the report declares. “Electric companies across the U.S. are leveraging smart meter data to better monitor the health of the energy grid, more quickly restore electric service when outages occur, integrate distributed energy resources, deliver energy information to customers, and provide smart pricing options to customers.”
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