Automatic Meter Reading Market Gains Momentum, Association Reports

The Automatic Meter Reading Association (AMRA) recently released its largest Trials & Installations Report, which provides information on 230 utilities that are planning to deploy or are deploying nearly 14 million units for automatic meter reading and other automated services.

The Automatic Meter Reading Association (AMRA) recently released its largest Trials & Installations Report, which provides information on 230 utilities that are planning to deploy or are deploying nearly 14 million units for automatic meter reading and other automated services.

The January 1999 report reflects a significant upswing in the AMR market as water, electric and gas utilities around the world brace for increased competition in the utility environment.

Water utility listings include 44 projects composed of 29 installations of nearly 2 million units and 15 trials of 4,892 units. Half of the projects are new deployments that involve about 63,000 units.

Most deployments are small in scale. Only four water-utility representatives report installations of more than 50,000 units. Radio is the most popular technology at water utilities, with 25 projects of about 137,000 units. Other utilities report deployments of seven hybrid systems, four dial-inbound telephone, four mobile-radio, two fixed-network, one two-way telephone and one PLC system.

The electric industry reported the majority of AMR deployment activity, with 164 projects at 156 utilities. Of these 140 were installations of more than 4.8 million units and 24 are trials of about 22,000 units. Gas utilities reported 11 installations of nearly 1.8 million units and two trials of 290 units.

Interestingly, the largest water system installation reported was a project in Barcelona, Spain, were some 1 million units are to be installed. The installation there uses smart meters with telephone, cable and mobile radio technologies. An estimated 35,000 units are planned for installation in 1999.

The largest U.S. installation detailed in the report was the Philadelphia Water Department project, with 473,000 units planned. The project features Itron mobile radio technology coupled with Badger meters. Deployment began in 1997, with 128,000 units to be installed this year.

Of the 44 projects discussed, some of the larger include:

  • The Milwaukee Water Works, which plans to deploy 104,000 radio units by the end of 1999 and has a target goal of 152,000 units

  • The City of Aurora, Colo., which plans to deploy 12,000 hybrid units in 1999 and 2000, and has a target goal of 60,000 units.

  • The Loudoun (VA) County Sanitation Authority, which plans to install 7,000 per year in 1999 and 2000, with a target goal of 30,026 units.

More in Technologies