Sensus buys Sentech to boost R&D in smart energy

Sensus agreement with Sentec
Sensus is set to purchase Sentec, to improve its smart energy technology research and development capabilities

Global smart energy firm Sensus this week reached an agreement to buy UK technology research and development (R&D) firm Sentec in a bid to expand its position in the Internet of Things market. 

Sensus explained in a statement that the acquisition of the Cambridge-based research firm with expertise in mechanical engineering and embedded firmware development, will grow the metering manufacturer presence in emerging and transformational technologies.

Commenting on the buy-out, Randy Bays, president at Sensus, said: “The agreement with Sentec further illustrates our commitment to R&D spending which has continued to increase every year since 2012 and is now more than US$85 million per year.”

The progress comes as Sentec is currently developing a cost-effective metrology for IoT sensors providing data to enable demand response and load control initiatives, Metering & Smart Energy International has learnt.

UK-headquartered Sentec is also developing low-cost sensors for energy-efficient washing machines that capture information on water and energy use.

Mark England, chief technical officer at Sentec, commented: “We’ve been a partner of Sensus for the past 10 years and helped develop some of the key technologies used in their water and electric meters.”

Sensus’ presence in global smart energy

In other Sensus deal news, Japan’s Kobe City Waterworks Bureau has early September announced it is working with technology partners including Sensus to develop a smart water network.

The utility said it is running field trials at nine locations including schools and an airport to test communication technology between water meters on the network and the municipal water company.

Metering & Smart Energy International reported that Sensus is supplying its FlexNet long-range radio network to deliver meter data.

The meter communication technology company also has a live trial of its long-range 280MHz spectrum in the dense urban environment of Tokyo.

And in May, 2015 Sensus confirmed that it has entered the Australian market through a partnership with communications infrastructure company BAI.

The partnership of Sensus and BAI will offer a smart meter and communications solution using long range licensed radio that meets Australia’s critical national infrastructure requirements, the companies said.

The pair are bidding for two network contracts within Australia, Garry Cox, vice president Strategic Accounts at Sensus, told

Commenting on the decision to establish a foothold in Australia, Cox said: “It’s a strong market, as strong as Europe and Japan and lots of the Asian countries that we’re working in at the moment. Utilities in Australia also have similar issues to others around the world, so it’s a great opportunity for Sensus and BAI.”

On the subject of technical challenges with connecting smart meters across Australia’s terrain, Cox said the company’s experience in Nevada in the US means that it is confident it can achieve 99.5% coverage in rural areas.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.