Smart Meters Technology
The Smart Meter Industry like the rest of the Smart Grid Industry is seeing an astounding pace of consolidation, as big industrial conglomerates like Siemens, ABB, Schneider Electric and others gobble up smaller companies at a rapid pace. Smart Meter Manufacturers which were already not many are growing even smaller, as the smaller independent companies are acquired by the larger more established giant MNCs. The Energy Efficiency and the Smart Grid industries will see a rapid growth, as the demand grows for reducing global greenhouse emissions, increasing amounts of renewable energy integration into the grid and rising prices of fossil fuels.
Unlike solar and wind industry, independent companies in the Smart Grid are not as large as they require relationships with utilities, a bigger portfolio of products and longer history to survive. Bigger companies like Cisco, Honeywell, GE have mentioned the importance of Energy Efficiency and are going all out to achieve dominance. Smart Meter Manufacturers traditionally having a presence in the water and gas metering area, have now found a huge growth area in the Electricity Smart Metering industry. With the power grid almost a 100 years old, newer smarter meters are needed as essential pieces of infrastructure to implement a smart grid.
Smart Metering Companies
Here is a list of the major smart meter manufacturers:
1) Itron- It is the largest manufacturers of smart meters in the world, with a huge marketshare in its home American market. Itron(NSDQ: ITRI) is one of the biggest independent smart grid companies in the world with 8000 utility customers .It has used its expertise in making meters for gas and water to win large contracts in the electric smart metering market as well. It has won contracts from SCE, DTE Energy ,Center Point Energy amongst others. The company sells end-to-end smart grid and smart distribution solutions to electric, gas and water utilities around the globe. Itron is the world’s leading provider of smart metering, data collection and utility software systems.
2) Elster Group – Elster is a leading manufacturer in Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and integrated metering and utilization solutions to the gas, electricity and water industries. Elster is a US based private company that has a 170 year old history, where a number of times its ownership changed hands. Elster electricity meters are used for residential, commercial and industrial, and interchange metering applications. They support both Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and AMI systems.
3) General Electric – GE as it is popularly known is one of the biggest players in the Green Industry globally. General Electric like other industrial conglomerates eg. Siemens, Areva and others are in fact low risk plays in the Green Investing sector. GE is strong across most of the Green Sectors today particularly in the area of Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency. GE is not that big in the Smart Meter market, but with its overarching scale it has quickly won a number of contracts like the one with FPL.
4) Landis+Gyr – This Swiss-based PE bakced private company has a leading position in the European markets and has started winning contracts in USA as well. With an installed base of over 300 million electricity meters, Landis+Gyr is amongst the top 5 smart meter manufacturers. Based in Zug, Switzerland, it introduced electronic meters in 1981. Through the late 90’s the company saw a series of different investors and owners, including Elektrowatt, KKR and Siemens. In 2004 Bayard Capital of Australia purchased the company with a vision of building the premier energy management company in the world that would combine positive environmental outcomes with the company’s culture.
5) Schieder Electric – One of the biggest electrical and energy equipment suppliers in the world, Schneider has been one of the most aggressive in M&A. The company provides energy efficiency solutions to residential market, buildings, Industry & Infrastructure, and data centres. The company’s range of services and products is quite awesome and provides a holistic solution to its customers. Though not a major player in the smart meter market yet, the company cannot be underestimated in the future.
There are a number of other smart meter manufacturers as well like Holley Metering, Iskraemeco etc. However these companies are relatively small compared to the big guys listed above.