Smart-grid sentiment decreased slightly in December, according to the latest monthly survey of smart-grid executives by Zpryme Research & Consulting, with just 66% of executives holding a positive view about the industry compared with 71% in November.
The decrease was largely down to growing gloom among vendors who participated in the survey, with 70% saying they had a positive view compared with 78% in November.
Utilities, meanwhile, were more optimistic than a month earlier – 67% of those questioned held a positive view compared with 60% in November.
Zpryme’s survey included 276 smart-grid executives, who were asked about a range of industry issues between December 3 and December 13.
Despite greater pessimism, the results indicate that smart-grid executives remain broadly confident about their prospects.
Utilities appear to be more upbeat because 73% expect to submit new smart-grid proposals for budget approval over the next 12 months, while less than half of the vendors surveyed claimed to have closed a new deal last month.
Even so, the percentage of utilities expecting to submit new proposals stood at 75% in November, with no change over the last month in the proportion of vendors claiming to have closed deals.
The top four investment areas cited by utilities were distribution automation (25%), AMI (21%), advanced transmission systems (17%) and customer systems (17%).
The results also appear to endorse the re-election of Barack Obama to the US presidency, with 51% of respondents saying his re-election will have a positive impact on the future potential of the smart grid.
Some 37% of respondents viewed Obama’s re-election as a negative, with 12% saying it would have no impact.
The vendor data is likely to be a more accurate reflection of market sentiment, with 61% of respondents drawn from this area.
Just 14% of respondents were from utilities, while the remaining 25% came from educational, non-profit, power generation, government and other industries.
Zpryme’s next survey will be conducted between January 3 and January 15, and the company says “utilities and smart grid vendors are encouraged to participate”.