Grid Modernization

Almost half of all U.S. electricity customers have smart meters: EIA

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Installations of smart meters have more than doubled since 2010, with almost half of all U.S. electricity customer accounts now having smart meters, the Energy Information Administration reported on Dec. 6.

By the end of 2016, U.S. electric utilities had installed about 71 million advanced metering infrastructure smart meters, covering 47% of the 150 million electricity customers in the United States, EIA said in its “Today in Energy” report.

Smart meters have two-way communication capability between electric utilities and customers. One-way meter-to-utility communication, also known as automated meter reading, was more prevalent before 2013, EIA said.

Since then, two-way AMI smart meter installations have been more common based on data collected in EIA’s annual electric utility surveys, the federal agency noted.

EIA said that residential smart meter penetration rates vary widely in the U.S. Washington, DC, has the highest AMI penetration rate at 97%, followed by Nevada at 96%. Six other states had a residential AMI penetration rate higher than 80% in 2016: Maine, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, California, and Vermont.

In 2016, Texas added the most residential AMI meters of any state, installing smart meters on more than 200,000 customer accounts.

“Differences in smart meter penetration rates are often driven by state legislation and regulation, as some states require that regulators approve utilities’ cost recovery mechanisms for metering projects,” EIA said.

Meanwhile, many residential customers may not be aware that they have a smart meter.

EIA last conducted its Residential Energy Consumption Survey in 2015, a year when residential smart meter adoption was about 44% nationwide.

In that year, 22% of households reported having a smart meter, 49% reported not having one, and 29% responded that they did not know.

Only 8% of households reported being aware that they had access to hourly or daily data, and just 4% said they had accessed or viewed that data.