Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

India to take centre stage in smart meter rollouts, says Berg

Steve Rogerson
July 11, 2019
China, India, Japan and South Korea are set to surpass one billion installed smart electricity meters in 2025, according to IoT analyst firm Berg Insight.
The installed base of smart electricity meters in these Asian markets is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 per cent from 613.4 million in 2018 to reach 965.9 million in 2024. Over the next six years, smart meter penetration among electricity customers in the region is projected to increase from around 67 per cent in 2018 to 94 per cent by the end of 2024.
At this pace, Berg Insight anticipates the markets will surpass one billion installed smart electricity meters and reach a penetration close to 100 per cent in 2025.
“With China now fully deployed and with the nationwide rollouts in Japan and South Korea well on their way, India is now entering the centre stage with some massive installations expected within the coming five years,” said Levi Ostling, IoT analyst at Berg Insight. “After a few years of pilot projects, India is finally starting to see large-scale smart metering projects being initiated, driven by ambitious governmental targets to reach nationwide coverage of smart prepaid metering. With the recent re-election of Prime Minister Modi, deployments are anticipated to pick up pace in 2020 after a slow start in 2019.”
A major driver of the increase in deployments in India is the entrance of the government-owned energy services company EESL. Through its demand aggregation and bulk procurement model, EESL is effectively addressing the cost issue of smart metering investments, which is the main barrier for Indian state utilities to launch standalone deployments.
So far, EESL has procured ten million smart meters to be deployed for utilities across India, which can be compared with the total installed base of less than 1.5 million meters in the country at the end of 2018. Despite intense price competition and the introduction of a national smart meter standard in 2015, India is in comparison with the east Asian markets relatively open to international vendors.
Wireless RF mesh networking technologies have been favoured in early standalone deployments of smart meters in India. Since EESL has made cellular point-to-point its preferred smart meter communications technology, cellular connected meters are expected to take on a central role in the coming mass-deployments. With a preference for NB-IoT-ready meters already emerging in the market, the uptake of smart meters with cellular LPWA connectivity is expected to see a sharp increase as soon as the relevant network infrastructure is in place.
In a separate report, Berg predicts the installed base of smart electricity meters in North America to grow at a compound annual growth rate of eight per cent between 2018 and 2024 to reach 142.8 million at the end of the period. Over the next five years, smart meter penetration among electricity customers in the USA and Canada is projected to increase from around 60 per cent in 2018 to more than 80 per cent by the end of 2024.
“North America has long been at the forefront of smart grid technology adoption and a large share of the major utilities in the region are now either fully deployed or in the implementation or planning stages of full-scale rollouts,” said Ostling. “The market is however highly heterogeneous in terms of penetration. Some states or provinces remain sceptical towards the business case for advanced metering investments whereas others are soon to begin a second wave of deployments.”
Canada has reached a high penetration of smart meters through ambitious initiatives in its most populous provinces. Continued growth in North America in the next few years will largely be driven by the large investor-owned utilities in the USA that are yet to roll out smart meters for their customers. In addition, the large number of smaller cooperative and municipal utilities will also be playing an increasingly central role for penetration growth.
According to the report, yearly shipments of smart electricity meters in North America will grow from 8.8 million units in 2018 to 19.9 million units in 2024. Over the next few years, first-wave deployments by utilities such as Consolidated Edison, Duke Energy, Ameren, Entergy, PSEG, National Grid and Xcel Energy will boost shipments. Second wave deployments will gradually make their way into the shipment numbers at the end of the forecast period.
“While increasingly powerful meters with edge intelligence capabilities coupled with advanced data analytics software will drive second wave deployments, the utilities are now also looking to leverage their existing RF mesh networks for a wider array of applications beyond metering, bringing an increasingly diverse set of devices onto their networking platforms,” said Ostling.