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Northwestern Energy continues to adopt and invest in new grid technologies to ensure it improves services provided to consumers.

In partnership with Itron, the utility is implementing an advanced metering infrastructure programme for its gas and electric customers in North Dakota.

The programme includes installing smart electric meters and gas modules.

The project is expected to move south and wrap up in Nebraska by the end of 2019.

The utility is deploying the technology according to the table below:

•Aberdeen: October 2018 – January 2019
•Huron: January 2019 – March 2019
•Mitchell: February 2019 – May 2019
•Brookings March 2019 – May 2019
•Yankton: April 2019 – June 2019
•Nebraska: April 2019 – September 2019

The smart meters and gas modules will allow a two-way communication between NorthWestern Energy and its customers, a development which reduces the occurrence or duration of outages as well as improve consumer energy efficiency.

Energy storage investment

The news follows after the energy provider having invested $2.5 million in Kilowatt Labs, a New York-based energy storage and management solutions firm.

The investment allows the utility to deploy Kilowatt's products throughout its network.

The two will work together to develop customer-centric solutions, leveraging NorthWestern Energy’s technical, commercial and regulatory know-how.

Brian B. Bird, Chief Financial Officer at Northwestern Energy joins the board of directors of Kilowatt Labs

Larry Seibert, Managing Director of Kilowatt Labs, said: “...Our intent is that, together, we will have a meaningful impact on grid efficiency, resiliency, and enhanced service through deployment of Kilowatt’s products. With our advanced technologies, as well as with those we see others developing, the grid of the future is within reach.”

Bob Rowe, CEO at Northwestern Energy, added:“The technology that Kilowatt has developed is compelling. It aligns closely with our thinking about the evolution of the infrastructure that serves our customers, from rural to industrial, and at multiple layers of the network.