AT&T Powers AMI Platform from Itron
Industry-Leading Wireless Solution Promotes Cost Savings for the Utility Industry
Dallas, Texas, Liberty Lake, Washington.-AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Itron Inc. (Nasdaq: ITRI) announced today that Itron’s industry-leading advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) solution will be delivered over a cellular network that offers utility companies the ability to cut costs, better manage resources and improve customer service.
The solution integrates wide-area networking using AT&T’s nationwide, high speed cellular data network with Itron’s OpenWay® local-area networking to give utilities two-way communications for access to data from meters throughout their systems. This combination allows utilities to quickly collect, measure and manage energy usage and provide a more reliable and affordable supply of power without having to build and operate costly, proprietary communications networks.
“The AT&T/Itron solution enables utilities to use proven standards-based cellular technology for their Smart Grid AMI initiatives to transport device data and control messaging more efficiently,” said Regina Egea, senior vice president, Business Marketing, AT&T Global Business Services. “We are pleased to join with Itron to deliver a complete solution that promises to help utility companies streamline operations while gathering the critical information required to serve their customers.”
AT&T and Itron will jointly market Itron’s OpenWay AMI solution to utility companies in the United States. Their collaboration will bring a host of benefits to utility companies including:
* Providing the ubiquitous coverage required for AMI data transmission.
* Giving utilities the timely data needed to promote energy management, demand response, detect outages and deliver more accurate billings statements to customers.
* Creating the potential to offer time-based pricing, prepaid power options and the ability to remotely switch service on or off.
* Allowing utilities to self-manage the deployment of AMI and Smart Grid devices through AT&T’s ordering, activation and management systems for high-volume customers.
* Enabling seamless AMI project implementation by providing an experienced AMI team.
“AT&T and Itron offer utility companies the unprecedented combination of two industry-leading companies with the level of expertise required to harness the power of wireless technology for AMI transport,” said Philip Mezey, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Itron North America. “The time, resources and costs saved will be of tremendous benefit, particularly in today’s energy-strapped economy.”
According to industry experts, several factors are leading utilities to find ways to increase the performance of their communications networks. The North American Electric Reliability Council reports that the demand for electricity is expected to rise 19 percent by 2010 or 141,000 megawatts with only 57,000 megawatts of new resources currently identified.
One solution to meet that growth in the electric utility industry is the development of a Smart Grid that adds monitoring, control and communications capabilities to the national electricity delivery system in order to maximize the throughput of the system while reducing energy consumption. AMI will allow homeowners and businesses to use electricity as efficiently and economically as possible with features that allow time-of-use pricing and programs such as voluntary energy curtailment in which customers can sign up to have their residential energy consumption managed automatically during times of peak usage.
“Smart Grid and AMI will require ubiquitous communications networks throughout utility service territories,” said Warren Causey, vice president, Sierra Energy Group. “As enablers of Smart Grid and AMI initiatives, cellular technologies are receiving a great deal of increased scrutiny as utilities seek cost-effective means of implementing next-generation utility systems.”
AT&T offers a wide range of strategic mobility products and services to the utility industry, including wireless solutions for field service workers, outage detection and remote monitoring.
OpenWay by Itron is a new-generation, open-architecture advanced metering solution that provides full two-way communication to enable a utility’s smart grid as well as a built-in communications pathway to the meter or other smart grid device that is fully compliant with the American National Standards Institute C12.22 protocol for transport of device data over a network. OpenWay delivers operational efficiency, empowers all customers to participate in energy management and conservation and supports smart energy transmission and distribution grids. The OpenWay system remains independent of any particular communications technology. This means multiple transport technologies, including mobile networks, can be seamlessly integrated into a single system to deliver the best combination of reliability and cost effectiveness.
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