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Posts tagged: smart meters

Itron one of several ‘smart grid’ firms helping push ‘apps for energy’ contest

A good app may be worth $30,000 in prize money. And Spokane-area Itron Inc. is taking part in a nationwide effort to find and reward the best apps that use and analyze energy use.

Itron has positioned itself as a major component as the nation makes a slow but inevitable swing toward the “smart grid.”
 
The Obama administration has decided to work the tech street a little harder and is urging software developers to get in the smart grid game; As part of a “apps for energy” contest, a total of $100,000 will go to developers of apps that change how utilities and consumers understand and use data related to power. The money is provided from the U.S. Department of Energy.
 
The Energy Department’s “Apps for Energy” competition is summarized here. The deadline to submit is May 15 at 8 p.m. ET.
 
Along with Itron, other companies involved include Pacifc Gas & Electric Company, and Gridwise Alliance.
 
The judges of the contest include Sharelynn Moore, Itron’s vice president of corporate communications. 

How Itron makes its smart meters, a video; and it announces an acquisition

Let's do a daily-double, compliments of Itron Inc.  Yesterday we mentioned its role in a smart grid test back in the Northeast and we published its year-end earnings report here.

Today it's about its Smart Meters and other efforts to make them a bit smarter.

Itron announced it's spending $100 million to acquire a Mississippi tech company, SmartSynch.

The key detail is that SmartSynch has done a solid job of using existing cellular communications into utility networks. As utilities develop reliable networks that move data back and forth, from customers to distribution centers, the need for consistent and affordable communications becomes central.

SmartSynch does that. Here's a summary from SmartSynch.com about how its system works with smart meters: “SmartSynch's SmartMeter System facilitates two-way wireless communication with each meter, making continuously updated information available to utilities and their customers. All components of the SmartMeter are encased under the glass of the meter.”

Itron has used wireless connectivity to its meters for years. We need to ask: what does SmartSynch offer that's $100 million better than the system Itron has been using?

And as the second half of today's deal: Here is a video that shows how Itron's South Carolina company makes the OpenWay meter, Itron's workhorse smart meter.

Source: this video was produced by the Discovery Channel for it's How It's Made TV series.

Itron announces reorganization into water, energy units

Itron Inc., the Liberty Lake provider of products and services for the utility industry, announced Monday it's reorganizing into two divisions, to move the company to faster, more efficient growth.

Itron will now have two divisions, one for energy, the second for water.

Philip Mezey will become president and chief operating officer—Energy. Marcel Regnier will become president and chief operating officer—Water.

A company release offered this statement: “This new alignment provides a deeper focus on solving Itron’s customers’ critical business challenges through technology investments and global best-practices. Itron’s ability to successfully deliver across many markets reinforces its competitive position.”

Malcolm Unsworth, Itron’s president and CEO, said in the statement: “This reorganization gives us more agility to execute on our vision for the company, which includes growing revenue, expanding our global presence, broadening our product portfolio and streamlining ouroperations.

The goal, he noted, was unifying back-office IT and financial systems and looking for ways to lower operating expenses.

Itron signs deals for 800,000 payment meters in Indonesia

Wednesday turned into a big day for Itron news. The Liberty Lake maker of smart devices and meter solutions for utilities reported record quarterly and nine-month sales.

It also announced it signed deals with the Indonesian state-owned electric power utility, PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara, to provide 800,000 smart payment meters to the Java Bali region.

The release said those meters will be provided by the end of the year; with a few months left, one wonders if most of those are already deployed.

In Indonesia, power payments are unlike what we do in this country. Instead of getting a monthly bill for consumption, many locations in Indonesia — some of which are semi-rural — rely on a different metering system.

With the new Itron-provided keypad, consumers pay for future energy by entering a 20-digit code which credits the equivalent kWh onto the meter. The credit can be purchased by consumers from a supply authority or approved vendor.

The millionth Itron smart meter draws a big crowd in Southern California

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. - (Business Wire) Southern California Edison (SCE), an Edison International company, today installed its one millionth smart meter at the home of a customer in Redondo Beach. SCE started installation of smart metersLiberty Lake-based Itron Inc. said this week that they’ve just helped install their millionth OpenWay smart meter at Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.

What is striking is that the media folks at Itron went out and even found who the lucky customer is.

And it is …. drumroll … an unidentified customer who lives in Redondo Beach. Several dignitaries were on hand to commemorate the event, including U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), 36th Congressional District; Theodore F. Craver Jr., president, chairman and CEO of Edison International; Lynda Ziegler, senior vice president of customer service for SCE; and Malcolm Unsworth, president and CEO of Itron. The photo above, with two dignitaries and an unindentified technician, came by way of Earthtimes.com.

Does it seem odd that we get the full list of the honchos who showed up, but not the name of the customer? (We have a feeling he or he is not running for office.)

Now you will want to ask, what is an OpenWay meter? One way to think of it is, it’s like an HTC Droid Incredible or iPhone 3GS meter compared with your grandma’s cell phone. The OpenWay is Itron’s answer for utilities needing lots of ways to deliver data down the grid to the homes and businesses and customers, and to eventually allow demand-response control of a customer’s energy use.

Installation of the one millionth meter took place July 12. Southern California Edison”s crews began installing the first bunch of OpenWay meters in September 2009, and installations will continue
through 2012.
 

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