fuel poverty
US utility, Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana, has signed a contract with Itron to modernise its energy grid.

Vectren provides energy delivery services to 250,000 electricity and gas customers in southwestern Indiana and will install Itron’s OpenWay Riva IoT solution throughout its South territory to support customer experience transformation efforts.

Vectren will also take advantage of Itron Total Outcomes, which provides cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications for the operation of the system and analytics-based business outcomes.

The project builds on Vectren’s successful roll-out of automated meter reading for 600,000 gas customers in Indiana (North) and 300,000 customers in Ohio.

The solutions provider claims its OpenWay Riva solution will give Vectren a highly secure and resilient multi-application network infrastructure and technology platform that features distributed computing power at every level of the network, including in every electric meter. This enables real-time analysis of data and secured peer-to-peer communication among meters and intelligent devices within the network to manage rapidly changing grid conditions.

The solution also features adaptive communications technology to deliver high-performance communications with reliable connectivity in all types of service environments.

With these capabilities, Vectren can deliver new services and value to its customers. The utility will virtually eliminate estimated meter reads and give customers detailed insights into daily electricity and gas usage, helping them better manage their energy consumption and costs.

Vectren and grid automation

In addition to smart metering capabilities, the IoT solution will include a new distributed outage management application to improve outage detection and analysis. Vectren will be positioned to take advantage of additional distributed computing capabilities, including apps for demand side management, theft detection, high impedance detection, high gas usage alerts at residences and other safety diagnostics, transformer load management, and tools to manage distributed energy resources.

Dan Bugher, senior vice president of customer experience at Vectren, said: “Vectren is committed to delivering safe and reliable energy services, and we’re committed to delivering innovative solutions that provide an exceptional and personalised customer experience.

Mark de Vere White, president of Itron’s electricity business line, added: “More importantly, from a strategic standpoint, Vectren recognizes the vital role that edge intelligence, peer-to-peer communications and distributed computing capability at every customer premise will play in building a next-generation energy services company.”