LONDON – 12 October 2016 – The mandated introduction of smart electricity meters is stoking the simultaneous launch of smart gas meters, as regulators recognise the economic benefits of a shared communication infrastructure for electricity and gas meters. Luxembourg is already conducting a dual-fuel rollout, and similar projects are being planned in Germany, Austria, Ireland and Belgium after successful pilots.
Thanks to ongoing smart gas rollouts in France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the EMEA region is now the key regional smart gas meter market ahead of North America, which will also be surpassed by the Asia-Pacific market, not including China, by 2018.
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“The passing of favourable legislation such as the Third Energy Package of the European Union provided substantial impetus to the growth of advanced metering solutions,” said Energy & Environment Consultant Maximilian-Eckart Wernicke. “Without nationwide mandates, gas utilities would have overlooked the residential segment and offered smart gas meters only to industrial and commercial customers with annual consumption of more than 1,500,000 kWh.”
The diversity of national smart meter specifications makes it challenging for many meter manufacturers to market their products globally. Most significantly, the total costs of ownership of smart gas metering in many cases are higher than the accrued energy cost savings. As a result, residential deployments are frequently scaled back, postponed or cancelled.
Even while smart gas meter vendors are benefitting from mandated smart meter rollouts, limited technology innovation is causing the market to become rapidly commoditised. This places huge pressure on premium manufacturers, especially since Chinese manufacturers are aggressively targeting the international market.
“As a result, many established vendors are increasingly defining their value proposition as the optimisation of the business processes of the utility,” noted Wernicke. “This development marks a transition phase in which meter manufacturers convert from mere component suppliers to full-line service providers offering energy management solutions and conducting the meter reading on behalf of their customers.”
Compared to non-smart gas meters, the share of smart gas meters shipped annually will increase from the current 18.5% to 51% in 2025. Market liberalisation and a rising number of households in developed countries will also expand the customer base of smart gas meters and, ultimately, enhance revenue opportunities.
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