Itron Expands Functionality of its OpenWay® CENTRON® Smart Meter to Enable Seamless Migration Path from AMR to Smart Grid


DENVER — Autovation 2009 — September 15, 2009 —Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) announced today expanded functionality for its industry-leading OpenWay CENTRON smart meters. The enhanced meter will allow utilities, within their current automated meter reading (AMR) systems, to seamlessly migrate to a smart grid/advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) environment.

Available in Q4 2009, all OpenWay CENTRON smart meters will come equipped with Itron encoder receiver transmitter (ERT) technology, thereby allowing utilities to collect normal monthly billing data through Itron handheld, mobile and fixed network systems while they complete OpenWay AMI deployment.

“Our customers are facing an increasingly complex set of advanced metering, communication, control and smart grid requirements,” said Malcolm Unsworth, Itron president and chief executive officer. “Previously, to meet these challenges, they’d need to either expand a legacy AMR system or implement an entirely new AMI solution. Itron has enhanced the OpenWay CENTRON so utilities will no longer have to make that choice.”

Utilizing this new approach, meters can be deployed today and then migrated to a fully functional AMI architecture without revisiting or changing the devices in the field. This expanded capability means utilities can communicate with Itron’s proven handheld- or mobile-based AMR solutions when an OpenWay (radio frequency land area network) RFLAN network has not yet been established near the meter.

In the current meter, when an OpenWay CENTRON is energized it automatically seeks to communicate with an OpenWay RFLAN network. With this enhancement, in the event the OpenWay RFLAN network is unavailable, the meter will automatically transition into Itron’s legacy ERT protocol, communicating a standard consumption message (SCM) and allowing the utility to collect the meter’s monthly consumption data using existing Itron handheld, mobile or fixed network AMR solutions.

When in AMR mode, utilizing ERT protocol, the meter still listens several times each day for the establishment of an OpenWay RFLAN network. To switch to the advanced metering network, the utility simply installs an OpenWay Cell Relay network hub in the field. When the network is identified, the smart meter automatically reverts to OpenWay AMI mode and establishes itself on the two-way network enabling full smart meter functionality.

Additionally, whether in AMI or AMR mode, all OpenWay CENTRON smart meters are equipped with ZigBee® wireless networking capabilities, allowing for communication with either a ZigBee-equipped in-home display (IHD) or home area network (HAN). Communication with an IHD or HAN allows consumer awareness of usage data transmitted to devices installed within a residence. Additionally that same HAN can provide consumer energy management even without connectivity to the host utility. This provides the utility with immediate AMR operational benefits, and the consumer with immediate feedback related to energy conservation in advance of utility-sponsored demand response and special pricing programs.

About Itron:
Itron Inc. is a leading technology provider to the global energy and water industries. Our company is the world’s leading provider of intelligent metering, data collection and utility software solutions, with nearly 8,000 utilities worldwide relying on our technology to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. Our products include electricity, gas, water and heat meters, data collection and communication systems, including automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI); meter data management and related software applications; as well as project management, installation, and consulting services. To know more, start here:

For additional information, contact:
Deloris Duquette
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
(509) 891-3523

Kim Papich
Itron Communications and Marketing
(509) 891-3590