gas grid
Itron has expanded an AMI rollout contract with US power and gas utility, Consumers Energy to improve utility’s customer service and energy service reliability

Under the expanded deal including a 20-year maintenance agreement, Itron will upgrade utility’s gas distribution system by integrating communicating digital meter technology.

According to a press statement, Consumers Energy will install more than 630,000 smart gas communication modules to enhance efficiency and billing accuracy.

Itron believes its smart gas solution will allow Consumers Energy to collect, deliver and manage more granular and timely gas data for improved system performance.

The gas meters will be installed for consumers connected to the utility’s grid.

Previously, the two engaged in a contract to modernize utility’s electric system by integrating Itron’s Openway Smart grid solution utilising cellular communications.

To date, Consumer Energy has installed more than 800,000 smart meters under its Smart Energy program, with 1.1m Itron 4G LTE smart meters expected to be installed in the remaining metering points of the utility’s territory.

Smart meter data management

The development comes at a time Itron has been recognized as a leader in provision of Meter Data Management (MDM) solutions in Gartner’s ‘ 2015 Magic Quadrant for Meter Data Management Products’ report.

The listing is Itron’s third recognition as a leader in the report’s category for best provisions of MDM solutions, in consecutive years.

The report released in mid-December analyzed the performances of 12 Vendors including presence on a global scale, profits incurred and solutions scalability.

In 2015, Itron deployed its Enterprise Edition (IEE) MDM to 72 energy companies and manages data from more than 37 million meters across six continents.

Itron’s smart gas meters

In November 2015, Canadian telecommunication company Sierra Wireless also announced that Itron has selected its AirPrime HL Series modules to enable cellular connectivity in its latest line of smart gas meters.

According to a company statement, the communication modules will 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.”

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Nicholas Nhede
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.