A largely untapped market, Sub-Metering is set to grow substantially in the coming years in various sectors. Though technology is already widespread in use in water and heat metering applications, electricity is becoming a growing market as well. The case for Sub-Metering is made in different types of markets with large urban built-up areas seeing a high demand as prices rise due to building managers’ desire to save costs. One such example is seen in Canada’s Ontario province where there are an estimated 410,000 residential dwellings not individually metered.
Not only Urban areas but rural areas can benefit from energy savings due to sub-meter deployments where utilities would rather not go through the expense of installing individual meters for grid-connected communities but rather have one central meter point where it is then divided between the individual consumers.
Major manufacturers of conventional meters such as GE and Siemens already have sub-metering divisions, though there are far more companies with larger market shares who specialize in sub-metering systems such as Ista.
Conversion from electromechanical
The progression from electromechanical to solid state meters comes at two levels of technology. For some years, utilities have been replacing electromechanical meters with ‘basic’ or ‘dumb’ solid state meters. These do not have communications capability. They offer the same functions with some technical advantages over electromechanical meters. The second stage of replacement is with smart meters.
We do not believe it likely that there will be a total conversion to AMI metering for many years, if ever, although the bulk of the industrialised world and more advanced developing countries will do so. There is likely to be an ascent of the technology ladder for many years it two parallel courses. Some countries will move directly from electromechanical meters to AMI; important examples of this are Japan and Germany. Others have already moved or are in the process of doing so, from electromechanical to basic electronic meters. There is likely to be waiting period until the replacement cycle kicks in and then replacement with AMI.
Once the conversion from electromechanical and basic electronic meters to smart meters is in its final stage some years hence, the difference in the lives between the different types of meter will bring an entirely new factor to the rates of replacement and the calculation of meter market sizes.