US utility expands gas meter upgrade


Under its rollout plan, Vectren plans to install encoder receiver transmitters (ERTs) on its gas meters in west and central Ohio.

In a press statement, Vectren said it is also installing new ERTs for smart meters currently using old ERT models in Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Minster, New Bremen, Sidney, Bellefontaine, Huntsville, Lakeview, Russells Point and West Liberty.

ERTs help the company reduce operational costs associated with door to door meter readings. The system uses radio signals to transmit accurate gas consumption data to Vectren staff driving by gas meters with installed ERTs.

[quote] The project will help the Indiana-based energy firm simplify as speed up its meter readings.

The automated gas metering system is intended to improve efficiency of the utility’s natural gas infrastructure and enhance customer experience.

Vectren serves more than one million natural gas customers in Indiana and west-central Ohio and 143,000 electric customers in south-west Indiana.

Upgrade of gas meters

In late February, Vectren selected Itron to supply an advanced metering solution.

Under the terms of the deal, Vectren said it will use Itron’s 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.

In late January, Itron had also expanded an automated metering infrastructure 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.

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. [Illinois utility to install smart meters for gas and electric customers].

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


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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.