Aclara has landed a big win to provide Consolidated Edison about 5 million digital electric and gas meters.

The Aclara meters will be supported by Silver Spring Networks' platform. IBM will provide the IT system integration

“It’s the biggest project in Con Edison’s 190-year history,” Tom Magee, general manager of Con Edison’s automated meter initiative, told GTM after filing its updated advanced metering business plan in October. Given the sluggish North American meter market, the Con Edison contract is a substantial win for Aclara. 

Source: GTM Research. Contracted electric advanced meters for the past 18 months in the U.S. 

Aclara acquired General Electric’s smart metering business in November to gain a stronger position in the North American smart metering market. Until now, the bulk of Aclara’s business in the U.S. smart metering landscape has been with small to mid-size rural electric and municipal utilities. The acquisition has already paid off with this contract win. GE had shed its electric meter business as it refocuses on core industries and moves further into offering suites of services.

Con Edison took a close look at what many other large utilities had done with their smart metering plans, especially those that were interested in leveraging the networks for other applications, such as smart streetlighting and smart city services, since it is the electric utility for New York City.

It was that need for multi-application capabilities that led Con Edison to choose GE and Silver Spring as providers. Some of the utilities whose past experiences Con Edison considered were Commonwealth Edison and Florida Power & Light, both of which oversaw projects that involved GE and Silver Spring Networks. Con Edison told GTM it chose Aclara for its proven track record with AMI and competitive price for the hardware and installation. 

New York utilities are making a push for smart meters after being a period of slow progress in that domain. The state’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative calls for utilities to serve as platform providers in a more distributed energy future, essentially functioning as system operators for distribution-level energy markets.

In order to offer the suites of services envisioned under REV, utilities and third parties have argued that they will need interval data and the telemetry provided by two-way digital smart meters.

Con Edison’s smart meter plan is still awaiting final regulatory approval, but the utility has been cleared to start backend IT work ahead of rolling meters out in early 2017.