The global installed base of smart meters for distribution automation applications will grow from fewer than 10 million in 2013 to 143.2 million by 2020, according to new research.

The study from Navigant Research says that “utilities are increasingly shifting their focus from the deployment of advanced metering infrastructure technology to distribution automation applications that can reduce both capital and operating costs, as well as improve the efficiency and quality of the power grid”. 

It adds that the integration of distribution automation (DA) systems and applications with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems is expected to help utilities increase the financial benefits from their smart grid investments. 

Richelle Elberg, senior research analyst with Navigant, said: “As new generations of communications technology are deployed in AMI networks, utilities are learning and planning how to more efficiently integrate AMI and DA systems, and how to overcome the challenges that remain.” 

“By the end of the decade, AMI/DA integration will likely be the standard in new smart grid deployments, but it will take longer to update the existing installed base.”