SPOKANE, Wash., Feb. 28, 2002 — Itron Inc. announced that installation of automatic meter reading (AMR) technology for National Grid’s New England service territory has reached a significant milestone this month, with 1 million electric meters now fitted with Itron’s AMR technology that enables meter data to be collected automatically via radio signal.
National Grid has the largest electricity transmission and distribution network in the New England/New York market, serving approximately 3.2 million customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and upstate New York. Installation of the 1 million AMR-enabled meters for National Grid in New England has taken 16 months.
Implementation of Itron AMR technology at National Grid began in November 2000, with an initial project that automated data collection from 300,000 meters in the utility’s Rhode Island service territory. National Grid since has expanded the project scope significantly by completing a purchase agreement with Itron to automate data collection from a total of 1.2 million electric meters for residential and small business customers within its New England service territory.
The key drivers in National Grid’s decision to deploy Itron AMR technology throughout much of its New England service territory were improved customer service, cost reductions, and increased operational efficiency.
The system incorporates Itron’s mobile automatic meter reading technology, which uses a vehicle-based computer and radio transceiver to automatically collect data from meters equipped with Itron AMR meter modules, thereby eliminating the need for meter readers to access customer properties and visually read each meter.
After the meters are “retrofitted” with Itron AMR meter modules in a meter shop facility, they are reinstalled at customer locations by National Grid’s own field service staff. The utility then begins collecting accurate consumption data automatically and efficiently for customer billing using the Itron mobile AMR technology — simply by driving down the street.
“This is a truly exciting project for Itron because we’re working with one of the utilities in the country,” said LeRoy Nosbaum, CEO of Itron. “When the project is completed, it will be one of the largest AMR systems we’ve installed and National Grid’s decision to move forward with AMR deployment on a large scale shows the strategic value this technology delivers to utilities operating in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly competitive environment.”
Itron Inc. (Nasdaq:ITRI – news) is a technology provider and source of knowledge to the energy and water industry for collecting, analyzing, and applying critical data about electric, gas, and water usage. Itron technology touches more than $200 billion in energy and water transactions annually. Today, Itron systems are installed at more than 2,000 utilities in over 45 countries around the world and are being used to collect data from 275 million electric, gas, and water meters. Of those, more than 850 customers use Itron’s radio and telephone-based technology to automatically collect information from over 20 million of those meters. Itron’s software systems are also in use at a number of the newly created wholesale energy markets in the U.S. and Canada to provide critical billing and settlement systems for the power flowing into and out of those deregulating markets.