Feature

The top 10 U.S. utilities with the most smart meters

Fresh research from Elster and Zpryme shows big numbers in utilities' advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) rollouts. The top 10 utilities with the most smart meters to their names may not align 100% with the top 10 Smart Grid Investment Grant Program funding recipients, but if you take a look, you will definitely see some overlap.

Smart meters provide numerous benefits, allowing power companies to better measure and anticipate electricity use and demand while giving consumers more accurate and easy access to data about their power consumption. That knowledge, in turn, allows power companies to price their services more accurately, and ideally it allows consumers to better manage their energy consumption.

There are opponents, of course, who argue that smart meters pose risks. These complaints aside, however, 2012 has seen a number of smart meter milestones.

What follows are the top 10 U.S. utilities with the most smart meters in their care, according to August 2012 data published by Zpryme:


1. PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC CO
Smart Meters: 4,641,952

PG&E services the northern 2/3 of California and was one of the earliest adopters of smart meters back in 2010. As with any innovation, the first wave of meters encountered a number of problems, however subsequent tests have shown close to 100% accuracy and the company continues to utilize the data in new ways.

2. FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT CO
Smart Meters: 2,793,499

FPL is based in Juno Beach, Fla., and provides power for around 4.4 million customers in its home state. Its diverse assets include gas, nuclear and solar plants as well as multiple holdings in 20 other states—a promising future for smart meters.  They kicked off a plan to implement 4 million smart meters in 2009 and they are certainly well on their way.

3. ONCOR ELECTRIC DELIVERY COMPANY LLC
Smart Meters: 2,664,462

Oncor, the largest regulated energy company in Texas, delivers energy to approximately 7.5 million residents, almost a third of whom employ smart meters. The Lone Star state's climate provides a formidable proving ground for smart meters, where the devices are being used to combat serious summer power surges due to air conditioning use.  Thanks to a partnership with IBM, the company boasts one of the most advanced smart meter systems in the country.

4. GEORGIA POWER CO
Smart Meters: 2,148,720

Georgia’s largest electric utility, Georgia Power Co services 2.25 million residents in all but four of Georgia’s counties. Percentage-wise, this makes them one of the leaders in smart meter adoption.

5. CENTERPOINT ENERGY
Smart Meters: 1,863,286

A more decentralized utility than most, CenterPoint delivers energy to many states in the Midwest from Texas to Minnesota. The company implemented a five-year smart meter pilot program in 2009, funded in part by the Federal Stimulus Act.

6. ALABAMA POWER CO
Smart Meters: 1,405,947

Owned by the same company as Georgia Power Co, APC serves the southern portion of Alabama with around 1.4 million customers. This makes Southern Energy, its parent company, one of the most prolific users of smart meters in the country.

7. PPL ELECTRIC UTILITIES CO
Smart Meters: 1,403,889

Based in Allentown, Penn., PPL serves nearly 2.5 million customers in Pennsylvania and Kentucky and almost 8 million in Great Britain. They’ve received more customer satisfaction awards than any other power company in the U.S. and continue to innovate on their customers behalf with the adoption of smart meters in the past few years.  The area's run in with Hurricane Sandy also tested the ability of smart meters to get power back more quickly.

8. SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC CO
Smart Meters: 1,352,417

Supplying the electricity and natural gas to San Diego and Orange counties, SDG&E is on the forefront of sustainability solutions. Although their smart meter program is still young and facing some serious opposition on their home turf, the company is striving toward the future of sustainability.

9. PORTLAND GENERAL ELECTRIC CO
Smart Meters: 822,223

Serving half of Oregon and Portland, PGE takes pride in tackling sustainability concerns. Along with an increasing supply of smart meters, the company runs several renewable plants and operates 12 electric vehicle charging stations.

10. ARIZONA PUBLIC SERVICE CO
Smart Meters: 781,421

APS may be tenth on the list, but their smart meter program is still very much a fledgling effort. Serving over a million customers in Arizona while running the nation’s largest nuclear plant, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the company continues to build on its energy sustainability initiatives.

 


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Filed Under: Transmission & Distribution Technology
Top image credit: Flickr user Kevin