According to the recent report, “Smart Meters for Commercial and Industrial Markets,” from Navigant Research, cumulative worldwide revenue from smart meters for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers will total $19.1 billion from 2012 to 2020.

Annual revenue will flatten and decline slightly after mid-decade, from $2.2 billion in 2014 to $2.1 billion in 2020, the study concludes.

“Savvy C&I customers who seek to drive down operational costs have realized that smart meters can help accomplish that goal, especially when linked with building energy management systems,” says Neil Strother, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “For many businesses, even a small percentage reduction on their electric bill is more than enough when electricity costs can run to tens of thousands of dollars or more per month.”

Meter volumes for smart meter deployments in C&I facilities are much lower than residential volumes, since the C&I segment represents approximately 10% to 12% of total utility customers. C&I customers are the largest energy users in a utility’s service territory, however, so utilities have a strong incentive to meter them as accurately as possible. Smart meters are roughly double the price of a standard C&I metering device, according to the report, which presents a funding challenge for utilities as they assemble a business case for the deployment of smart C&I meters. This can lead to a staged deployment approach, especially since installing smart C&I meters involves a more sophisticated level of knowledge for setting up and programming these devices.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.