Itron takes prepay to next level with currency display and contactless top up


Washington-based metering giant Itron has launched a currency-based smart payment solution this week, the third new-to-market service in as many weeks.

Itron’s Centian prepayment meter and prepayment software displays the module’s remaining balance as a monetary value instead of kilowatt-hours (kWh). 

Itron claims that the company is the first in the industry to use the standard transfer specification (STS) to display remaining credit in currency. 

Contactless top up

Using near field communications technology, the Centian meter also allows customers to reload with cash using a contactless smart card held close to the unit instead of entering a 20-digit STS code.

Itron said in a statement that use of near field technology also enables two-way communication between the utility and the meter, providing meter reading information and the capability to remotely manage meter functionality.

Jeff Carkhuff, vice president of global solutions marketing for electricity at Itron, said: “We believe that this solution will make a real difference to consumers in terms of the convenience of purchasing electricity credit and also understanding their energy use to help save money and conserve resources.”

The Itron Centian meter is being launched in Thailand, Bangladesh, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, where prepayment is becoming an essential way for consumers to access electricity.

The meter is available in a number of bottom connected variants for single and three phase supplies.

Expanding product range 

The announcement of the new technology follows the launch of Itron Riva in October 2014, a communication platform that gives edge devices such as sensors and meters intelligence.

The product, aimed at smart grid and internet of things markets, was recently expanded with the unveiling of a load control add-on that controls run times on high-consumption systems such as HVAC, hot water and pool pumps.