Smart meter shipments fells 15% in the first quarter of 2012

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Smart meter shipments fells 15% in the first quarter of 2012

By Greentech Lead America: Global shipments of smart meters fell to 15.1 million
units in the first quarter of 2012, a 15 percent decline from the fourth
quarter of 2011. 17.5 million smart meters were shipped in 2011
 Year-over-year the current decline represents a 14 percent drop from the
same period.

The smart meter market was experienced rapid growth
between 2009 and 2011, now the market is cooling off. According to Pike
Research, the fast pace of deployments was never going to be sustained, and the
market is returning to a more normal clip, with certain areas still poised for
growth.

North America experienced a noticeable decline in the
first quarter as many utilities in the region have either finished their
deployments or wind down their projects. The report forecasts that the
shipments will continue be soft this year and Europe and Asia will help the
market to sustain.

“The decline in smart meter deployments was particularly
noticeable in North America, where a rollout peak was reached last year. The
U.S. government’s stimulus money, which had been an important driver of
projects, has nearly run out, and many utilities have either finished projects
or are starting to wind them down. We expect shipments to continue to be soft
this year as the industry returns to a more predictable rollout schedule in
North America. However, other markets like Europe and parts of Asia should help
buoy the global smart meter business,” said Neil Strother, senior analyst at
Pike Research.  

Even China is also showing signs of a smart meter
slowdown as foreign suppliers note softer demand in the region. Still, China
continues to deploy large volumes of devices, albeit at a more measured pace.

Despite the slowdown, some deployments were announced
during the quarter. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said it would begin
rolling out 17 million smart meters in Japan through 2019.

Iberdrola wins contracts to supply one million smart meters in
Spain

In Spain, Iberdrola announced deals with seven meter
manufacturers that will supply 1 million smart meters as part of the utility’s
initial rollout of devices through 2018.  Iberdrola awarded seven
companies contracts with a total value of 300 million euro to supply one
million meters, based on the PRIME powerline communication standard with remote
management capabilities,

In the United Kingdom, meter manufacturer Landis+Gyr,
aiming to take advantage of the government mandate to have every home and
business equipped with a smart meter by 2019, signed a deal with Chinese
telecom equipment giant Huawei to collaborate on smart meter communications
technology for the U.K. market.

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