Indiana utility gets regulator approval for expansion

In the US, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has granted smart utility firm NineStar Connect approval to expand its utility business.

The firm was given permission by the commission to operate as a water and sewer services firm.

The approval of NineStar Connect to increase its operations in the utilities sector makes the firm the first rural cooperative in the US to provide services in electricity, fiber optic communications, water and sewer sectors as a single company.

Following the certification, NineStar Connect will enter the water sector by purchasing Sugar Creek Utilities operating in Riley Village in Hancock county, by the end of this September.

The Indiana utility will also acquire the Greenfield Central wastewater plants in Maxwell and Eden communities.

Michael R. Burrow, CEO of NineStar Connect, said “the expansion into wet utilities is in keeping with the utility’s mission to provide the infrastructure needed to empower thoughtful economic development and improve quality of place in rural Indiana.”

“Two-thirds of the land in Hancock County currently is unserved by any water or sewer utility, and the lack of access to wet utility infrastructure is a hindrance to residential and commercial economic development,” added Burrow.[Tanzania water utility improves services with ISO certification].

Indiana utility business sector

In other news involving utility operations in the US state of Indiana, Vectren, a natural gas and electricity distributor, commissioned Itron to supply an advanced metering solution.

Under the terms of the deal signed in the first quarter of 2016, 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 deal adds to Itron’s growing tally of smart gas meter modules installed in the US.


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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.