Itron unveils new metering technology that would provide usage information to utilities and end consumers

Low-cost device is the result of a new agreement with International Utility Information Systems Corp.

SPOKANE, Wash., Sept. 10, 2001 – Itron, Inc. today gave energy industry representatives a preview of its new Energy Gateway, a low-cost, web-enabled data collection and home automation device that will open up a new frontier of opportunity for more effective load management, conservation and value-added energy-related services.

Currently in development, the Itron Energy Gateway is slightly larger than a deck of playing cards, and was unveiled in conjunction with this week’s Automatic Meter Reading Association annual conference in Quebec City, Canada.

The Itron Energy Gateway is a joint development project between Itron and International Utility Information Systems Corporation of Scotts Valley, California, a company that Itron made an investment in earlier this year. Itron has exclusive marketing rights in North America to the Energy Gateway as well as rights to manufacture the devices.

“The combination of the Itron Energy Gateway and our industry- automatic meter reading (AMR) technology will give energy providers a very powerful yet cost-effective way to connect with their residential customers,” said LeRoy Nosbaum, president and CEO of Itron. “The result is that energy providers and consumers can share knowledge and work together to ensure that electricity supply and demand stay in step with each other in response to increasingly dynamic market conditions.”

The Itron Energy Gateway receives metering data via radio signal from an Itron Encoder-Receiver-Transmitter (ERT) module installed on the property’s electric meter and then communicates the information to a server at pre-scheduled intervals. The data can then be made available to the energy provider and the end consumer. In a home with an ERT-equipped electric meter and an Energy Gateway, meters can be read using traditional Itron automatic meter reading technology or with the Energy Gateway.

“Rising energy costs and more frequent disruptions in electric service have caused consumers to focus more attention on their energy usage and bills,” said Larry Eggleston, vice president of business development and strategy at Itron. “This focus can be seen in their conservation efforts over the summer. However, most have done so with very little information to go on. The Energy Gateway is an empowering technology that will deliver energy usage information into the hands of consumers and energy providers to help them control and manage energy consumption proactively.”

For example, with detailed data collected through the Energy Gateway, an energy provider will be able to predict more accurately when supply and demand imbalances may occur, Eggleston said. The provider could then use the Energy Gateway to remotely adjust the customer’s thermostat, if so equipped, within agreed-upon parameters, to achieve necessary load reduction targets.

Data collected through the Energy Gateway and displayed online enables an energy provider to engage its customers in new ways. Through a web interface, consumers will be able to monitor their energy consumption, make changes in their usage, or override curtailment initiatives. Energy providers and consumers can also work together to cut energy consumption through incentives such as time-of-use rates or load reduction rates.

Separately, Itron is also developing and marketing a stand-alone “ERT reader” component that integrates with third-party residential gateway systems to collect consumption data from electric meters equipped with Itron ERT modules. “A combination of the Energy Gateway or the stand-alone ERT reader and AMR technology, will enable energy providers and consumers to gain more knowledge about energy consumption and increase the return on the energy providers’ investment in AMR technology,” said Eggleston.

Itron Inc. is a technology provider and source of knowledge to the energy and water industries 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.

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