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Brazil is expected to cumulatively spend $27.7 billion on total smart grid investments by 2022, according to a new study by Northeast Group LLC. The research firm notes this figure is lower than its original forecast of $36.6 billion.

Driven by Brazilian electricity regulator ANEEL's recent announcement of smart meter regulations, these smart grid investments will cover the transmission, distribution, metering and home energy management segments of the market. The largest reduction in the total forecast was found in the smart meter segment. Distribution and transmission network investment forecasts remain largely unchanged, Northeast Group adds.

"The August [smart meter] regulations were not the binding mandate that many had expected ANEEL to announce, calling for the replacement of all 63 million meters in Brazil," says Northeast Group. "As a result, we have revised downward our smart meter forecast for the country. At the same time, the regulation provides clarity for utilities and vendors and will help ensure that investment in this multibillion-dollar market will increase in the next few years."

The recently announced regulations require all new meter installations to be smart meters by early 2014, but do not require the replacement of existing legacy meters. Instead, customers may opt in by requesting one of two types of smart meters: a free meter that enables time-of-use pricing or a more advanced smart meter with additional functionality. Customers would need to cover the cost of the more advanced smart meter, Northeast Group notes. The additional functionality will include - among other things - net metering to boost distributed or microgeneration in the country.

"Even without a binding mandate, all Brazilian utilities will deploy AMI in some form, especially since five of the largest utility groups have non-technical losses above 14 percent,” the research firm adds.



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