In the US, Vectren, a major natural gas and electricity distributor for the state of Indiana, has commissioned Itron to supply an advanced metering solution.Under the terms of the deal, Vectren will use Itron technology to automate 780,000 gas meters by 2017 in a bid to streamline operations and improve customer service.
The Itron data collection system will allow Vectren to reduce the number of manual meter reads by utility personnel, allowing for drive-by data collection.
Vectren distributes electricity and natural gas to business and residential customers in over two thirds of the state of Indiana. The energy holding company has already installed more than 150,000 gas communication modules in its Indiana and Ohio service territories.
Smart gas meters - US dominance
The deal adds to Itron's growing tally of smart gas meter modules installed in the US.
Research analyst Frost & Sullivan in January 2016 ranked Itron as the top global supplier of smart gas meters followed by Elster and Landis+Gyr.
In September 2014, the Washington State-based company reached a milestone of shipping 50 million modules to natural gas distributors across the country.
[quote] To help with market consolidation, in November 2015, Itron revealed that it had partnered with Canadian telecommunications company Sierra Wireless to enable cellular connectivity in its latest line of smart gas meters.
Itron is using Sierra Wireless' AirPrime HL Series modules to support residential smart gas meters scheduled for shipping late 2015 for deployments in Europe starting in Italy.
Commenting on the deal, Dan Schieler, senior vice president, OEM Solutions for Sierra Wireless, said: "We are seeing significant interest from utilities in expanding smart metering from electrical grids to initiatives in gas metering as well.”
Smart gas meters - global market
While North America still dominates a large share of global revenue in the smart gas meter market, Frost & Sullivan predicts that over the next decade, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) will be the key regional growth market owing to roll-outs in Europe and growing demand in the Middle East and Northern Africa.