In partnerships with utilities, MeterSmart provides commercial and industrial (C&I) submetering solutions through hardware and services. Born out of a project in South Texas with a Hunt Power L.P. affiliate, they initiated operations as an independent division in 1999.
As a young company, MeterSmart faces numerous entrenched competitors in the submetering industry. According to Dan Price, President of MeterSmart, a key differentiating factor of their submetering solution is that their submeter can be installed on a C&I load behind the utility meter without powering down the production facility. This can enable submetering solutions to be installed at 24/7 manufacturing plants without end-customer downtime. A second value point in working with MeterSmart in created through augmenting the master meter with enhanced data from the independent loads within the facility.
In Mr. Price’s viewpoint, constrained capacity and increasing electricity and gas prices are two long term industry trends driving the introduction of demand-response programs. Interval data metering/submetering and real time access to the meter data are core requirements for the implementation of demand-response programs. The industry trend towards demand-response programs will support long-term growth of MeterSmart’s opportunities.
MeterSmart has made two acquisitions to date. Both acquisitions were conducted to improve the value proposition of MeterSmart. Utility Data Resources was acquired in 2001 to improve the services and software side of their value proposition. E-Mon was acquired in 2002 to improve the metering hardware side of their value proposition. Mr. Price describes the marriage of service and hardware a “Having lots of fit with the acquisitions, and not much overlap between the two.”
Manufacturing facilities are located in Langhorne PA, San Diego CA, and Reyonosa MEX. Headquarters are in Arlington Texas.
Primarily, MeterSmart’s customers are utilities operating in the US. As of January 2004, MeterSmart has not yet expanded outside of the US, but Mr. Price reports that he is examining opportunities in Canada and Mexico. Some key customers include Southern California Edison, KCP&L, Alabama Electric Coop, and Sharyland Utilities.
MeterSmart is a privately held corporate subsidiary of Hunt Power L.P. As such, business performance figures such as revenue or team size are not available. However, MeterSmart was able to share the number of meter reads and meters managed per year.
In 2002, MeterSmart performed 2.2 million remote meter reads. In 2003, MeterSmart performed 2.5 million remote meter reads.
MeterSmart currently manages more than 10,000 meters in the field collecting interval data, as well as 5,000 loggers. Of the 10,000 meters, half are for submeter points within a facility. Regarding the actual meters, 14% are manufactured by MeterSmart while the remaining 86% are third party manufactured.
Mr. Price is focused on expanding the value proposition through new products and strategic acquisitions.
In the recent past, MeterSmart’s value proposition was improved with respect to the means by which data was communicated to end customers. Rather than simply posting the information on a secure website, MeterSmart has developed exception-handling business rules to alert end customers of odd behavior. This effort also led to the emailing of weekly consumption reports to consumption managers.
According to Mr. Price, future development of MeterSmart’s value proposition is focused on a “see and save” strategy. In this approach, customers can see their data, have that data converted into information that shows them how to save money, and then take action on that information. Such a strategy will require the incorporation of an “expert system” within their service solutions.