103 million smart meters in US in 2020

103 million smart meters in US in 2020
Image: FERC

Almost two-thirds of meter points were smart or advanced meters at the end of 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has reported in its latest annual assessment.

FERC quotes Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures for the smart meters, stating that from 2019 to 2020, the number increased by 8.3 million to reach 103.1 million by the year end.

This is broadly in line with the assessment from the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation of 107.4 million smart meters, corresponding to over 67% penetration.

In total there are approximately 159.7 million metering points in the US.

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The report notes that the smart meter penetration rate varies by census division and customer class, but the estimated rates nationwide for each of the residential, commercial, and industrial customer classes were greater than 50% in 2020.

In some census divisions – notably the East North Central, East South Central, Pacific, South Atlantic and West South Central – the smart meter penetration rates are greater than 70%.

The report also states that state regulators continue to consider and approve proposals to deploy smart meters, often as a component of larger grid modernisation plans. For example, regulators in Massachusetts, Ohio and Virginia are either considering or have recently approved such deployments through grid modernisation proceedings.

Additionally, California regulators have directed utilities in the state to implement certain communication protocols to facilitate the submetering of electric vehicles (EVs) through EV supply equipment.

Turning to demand response, the report states an increase from 2020 to 2021 in the wholesale markets by approximately 1,833MW to a total of 32,421MW, representing a 6% annual increase.

The demand resource totals increased from 2020 to 2021 in all but one of the wholesale markets.

Customer enrolment also increased, from 2019 to 2020 rising in retail dynamic pricing programmes by 1.2 million and in retail incentive-based demand response programmes by over 732,000.

These customer enrolment increases represent annual percentage increases of 11.3% and 6.7% respectively.