In the US, Michigan and Illinois are leading smart meter installations in the Midwest, according to an analysis of recent government data. The analysis found that the number of smart electric meters installed in homes, businesses and industries across the Midwest more than quadrupled between 2010 and 2015.

In the early 2000’s, Midwestern states were home to 2.2 million smart meters. By 2015, that figure had ballooned to 10.2 million.

“The electric grid is probably the most important machine ever developed,” says David Kolata, executive director of Citizens Utility Board, an Illinois consumer group. “That it works is amazing, but there’s a lot of inherent waste in it, and there has been for years. If we build a smarter grid … we can recapture a lot of power that’s simply, literally lost on the system.”

The analysis points to policymakers’ efforts to promote grid modernization efforts as one of the primary driving forces behind the significant growth in smart meter installations.

It adds, “Still, smart meters made up only 28% of all metering infrastructure in the Midwest in 2015, the data shows. Michigan, which leads the Midwest in smart-meter deployment, had an AMI penetration level of 65% in 2016. That figure is as low as 10% in Iowa and Indiana. AMI’s spread across the Midwest — a region that generated nearly a quarter of the nation’s electricity last year — continues to raise concerns about cybersecurity and privacy.”

Cybersecurity

According to government release, AMI’s spread across the Midwest — a region that generated nearly a quarter of the nation’s electricity last year — continues to raise concerns about cybersecurity and privacy.

“Every time you put in more and more computerization, it opens everything up more to hacking,” says George Gross, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The more and more portals [that are put] into the power networks, the easier it is to hack.”