Itron Inc. on Wednesday announced the signing of a $44 million contract to install a network that will read 450,000 meters for Virginia Power.
Installation will begin in November with a 5,000-meter pilot, said Itron spokeswoman Mima Scarpelli. Full-scale implementation should start in the first quarter of 1998, with completion expected by the end of the year.
Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, serves about two million customers in Virginia and North Carolina. Scarpelli said Itron’s network will be installed in areas where the utility thinks rivals will most likely try to pick off customers as deregulation opens up traditionally exclusive service territories.
Virginia Power now uses a system based on Itron’s hand-held equipment. The new system uses tiny radios to relay readings from modules mounted on the meters to a central computer.
“It’s a terrific contract for us,” Scarpelli said. “This is a nice testimonial for Itron and our technology.”
The announcement included a caution from President Johnny Humphreys that the contract would not produce the gross margins of non-network systems.
Scarpelli said the company wants to discourage projections that might overstate the earnings potential from the new business.
Margins will improve as the market and technology mature, she said. , DataTimes
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