Even though AMI is now the largest category in the U.S., in comparison to AMR based systems and non AMI/AMR, and even though hundreds of electric utilities have “full” AMI systems in place rather than partial installations, how well are utilities leveraging the potential value of their AMI data?

Data from the Energy Information Administration provides us with a snapshot into the value chain associated with AMI, in terms of actual measures of the portion of full potential benefits of AMI these utilities and their customers are enjoying.  It provides us with a good motivator to proceed and address ways in which utilities are currently constrained from reaching their customers and utilizing meter data more deeply.

Based on recent data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) for approximately 1,800 U.S. utilities, we find the following:

  • At a total of 7 million customers involved in the U.S., the penetration levels for dynamic pricing programs are very low (4.5% at the 437 out of 1,800 utilities reporting any dynamic pricing programs at all, which equates to a paltry 1% penetration level if we throw the 1,400 non-participating utilities into the average).  And the 7 million customers is a “top-heavy” number, with more half of the 437 utilities reporting fewer than 40 dynamic pricing customer participants, and with 85% of the 7 million customer figure being reached by summing the dozen largest utilities out of the 437 involved.  (The EIA data lists, for each utility, the enrollment levels separately for Critical Peak Pricing, Critical Peak Rebates, Real Time Pricing, and Variable Peak Pricing (across residential, commercial and industrial customer categories).
  • Less than 4% of utilities with AMI reported they have enabled customers Home Energy Network (HAN) gateways to function through their AMI.
  • The number of customers who have daily digital access to their meter data is below 25% (regardless of what actual, smaller, portion of those customers utilize that data frequently.

* Installed AMI with home area network (HAN) gateway enabled are reported as a subset of AMI.  In this case, a HAN consists of software and hardware components residing within an AMI meter that permits the meter to communicate with devices within a customer’s premises.

** Independent of type of meter(s) installed, this 25% figure is the total number of customers that utilities answered when asked: to list the number of customers “able to access daily energy usage through a web portal or other electronic means.”