Sales of equipment to manage electricity consumption may reach $1bn by 2015 in Latin America, up from $100m now, with half those sales in Brazil, where the government is backing smart grid investment, said Roberto Vengochea of GE.

Electricity theft and energy losses from cables are prompting governments in the region to require the use of smart grid systems that could cut power consumption by up to 20 per cent, he added.

“This business will explode by 2015,” he said. “Governments are coming out with new regulations, forcing utilities to shift to smart metering.”

Brazil has been drafting legislation over the past two years that requires utilities to install 64 million smart meters over the next decade, said Roberto Falco, vice-president for Latin America of Ventyx, a unit of ABB.

With smart meters priced at about $100 each, sales would total $6.4 billion in Brazil by 2021, he said.

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