Cleveland, OH, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- August 3, 2007 - Demand for electric meters in the U.S. will increase by 5.3 percent annually to $1.1 billion in 2011 due to the continued expansion of net metering programs and automated meter reading systems, according to a new study from the Freedonia Group.

While not matching the rapid increases from 2001 to 2006, these gains will still be the fastest among any major electric transmission and distribution product, reports the study, which was focused on the broad transmission and distribution equipment sector.

Demand is further projected to reach $1.35 billion by 2016.

US shipments of electric meters will increase 4.1 percent annually to over $1 billion in 2011 and over $1.2 billion in 2016. While remaining strong, increases are expected to trail demand, and the US, which had long run a trade surplus in meters, is expected to begin to have a trade deficit in these products, the report says.

The vast majority of electric meters in use are for residential construction and most of the installed base of residential meters is electromechanical. However, an increasing share of residential meters are electronic, since these products are better suited to net metering and automatic meter reading applications. In contrast, meters used in commercial and industrial applications and electric generation, transmission and distribution settings have commonly been electronic for some time.

As of mid-2007, 42 states offered at least limited net metering programs, with only eight states (Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee) having no such programs, the report states.

For electric transmission and distribution equipment in general U.S. demand is expected to increase 3.6 percent annually, approaching $21 billion in 2011. Increases will be supported by a healthy industrial environment coming out of the early 2000s economic downturn, and growth in non-utility power generation. In addition, the maturation of deregulation efforts and regulatory changes designed to ensure returns on investment in the electric grid will support demand from electric utilities.