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Global roundup smart meter, AMR and prepaid meters meter sales
A study on global electricity meter sales excluding China, carried out by Statplan research firm indicates a 22% increase in sales by 2020

Global electricity meter sales excluding China will top 173 million units in 2015, accelerate in 2016 and hit a 22% increase by 2020.

This is according to a report on the electricity meter market, released on Monday by UK-based research firm Statplan.

According to the data, 99% of global electricity meter stocks were electromechanical in 1985 and 66% in 2015.

This percentage will continue to decrease to 44% by 2020 as utilities replace legacy meters with prepayment and smart metering systems to combat revenue losses.

Smart meter rollouts

As smart meter expansion projects are beginning in Europe and the Middle East followed by South America, adoption of prepayment meters is increasing in Asia, the Indian sub-continent, sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

The report forecasts an increase in the global sales of low-voltage (LV) smart meters from the current 35.4% to 45.7% in 2020.

The research company says despite increases in the adoption of smart meters, some proposed plans to deploy meters will be completed before 2020 and some may be not be fulfilled.

And while  29% of European LV meter sales were for advanced metering infrastructure in 2014, predicted to reach 64% by 2020, the United States market has slowed down following the end of the government's fiscal stimulus programme.

Prepaid meter demand

Prepayment meter sales will rise from 11.2% in 2015 to 14.9% in 2020 providing a solution to chronic problems such as electricity theft in Africa where only 50% of electricity generated is paid for.

A further 25% is lost to theft by consumers and the remainder is lost due to inefficiency in billing distribution companies, Metering has learnt.

Smart meter sales in Mexico

Another report released this month illustrates a growing market for smart meters in Mexico.

The country has launched investments in smart grid technology programs by recently issuing a number of tenders for installation of smart meters, according to data released in September by Northeast Group.

The research states that the smart meter infrastructure development program in Mexico is in the stage of vendors being shortlisted for the supply of 30.2 million smart meters from 2015-2025.

"Mexico’s US$10.9 billion smart grid infrastructure investment will see significant deployments across a number of market segments including smart metering, distribution automation, battery storage, home energy management, information technology and wide area measurement," said Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group.