The success of smart grid initiatives relies on the ability to intelligently gather energy usage data at the point of consumption. To increase such awareness at the smart meter level, a new industry group, the Smart Meter Manufacturers’ Association of America (SMMAA), has just been formed, chartered by its six founding companies to provide greater advocacy and education.
Smart meters record electrical consumption throughout the day and deliver the near real-time data to local utilities, enabling more proactive load balancing and analysis. SMMAA, composed of all the major meter manufacturers in America, intends to promote thought leadership and improve awareness in relation to smart meter standards, implementation, legislation, manufacturing and other relevant subjects.
As SMMAA President David Elve explains it:
“Because the smart meter is such a foundational component of the evolving intelligent grid, we see the need to better inform industry stakeholders—from regulators and legislators to media and consumers—about smart meters and smart grid benefits. Our group is collaborating on top-of-mind subjects and creating a unified voice with the goal of moving the industry forward through policy. While our companies are competitors for utilities’ smart meter business, in the area of public policy, we stand on common ground in our desire for well-reasoned smart grid regulation and incentives to advance the market.”
Echelon, Elster, GE, Itron, Landis+Gyr and Sensus are the founding members and representatives from each company reside on the board, with a rotation in the presidency. Meters from these manufacturers represent nearly 100 percent of the installed base of electric meters currently deployed in the United States and Canada, and 35 million of which are considered “smart.” The group intends to offer information and insight on pressing utility industry and government policy issues based on their collective experience and knowledge.
There's been plenty of movement around smart grid lately in both the private and public spheres. At the same time SMMAA was being formulated, SmartPlanet colleague Jason Hiner reports, the White House announced a program intended to boost smart grid initiatives.
SMMAA lauds the latest public-sector push in the announcement of its formation, and, for its part, will focus on the efficacy of data collection devices. As Elve told Kate Rowland of Intelligent Utility, immediate key topics for the group are meter accuracy, the RF (radio frequency) emissions issue and security. "The accuracy issue is near and dear to our hearts: some of our members have been making meters for 100 years," Elve says. Security is an equally important issue to the association.