Itron, Tantalus secure smart-meter business in US Virgin Islands

Smart-grid players Itron and Tantalus have been selected to provide advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in the US Virgin Islands as part of the territory’s rollout of more energy-efficient infrastructure.

According to a statement from the companies, the US Virgin Islands Water and Power authority (VIWAPA) has chosen a joint solution from Itron (Liberty Lake, WA, USA) and Tantalus (Raleigh, NC, USA) for the AMI deployment.

Under the deal, the companies will be required to provide technology for more than 55,000 electricity customers throughout the islands of Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas.

The project is being funded by the US Department of Agriculture and will make use of a range of communications technologies based on integrating the Tantalus platform with Itron hardware.

Itron and Tantalus say this will facilitate the use of advanced applications, including automated metering and demand management.

“Following an extensive technology review process, VIWAPA is pleased to announce that it has selected the Itron-Tantalus solution for our AMI network and smart metering deployment,” said Niel Vanterpool, AMI project lead for VIWAPA. “One of the biggest advantages of the Itron-Tantalus solution was that it is designed to cost-effectively leverage as much existing infrastructure as possible, including fiber and microwave backhaul technology, over extremely rugged terrain.”

Vanterpool said the AMI rollout tied in with VIWAPA’s program to improve the efficiency of the grid, modernize infrastructure and protect revenues.

According to Itron and Tantalus, the utility will at first use “high-return” Tantalus applications, such as real-time meter reading and billing reconciliation, but look to integrate the technology with existing systems so that more advanced services – like in-home consumer energy management tools – can be offered in future.

“We are pleased to continue our work with our customer, VIWAPA, as they modernize their electricity infrastructure and transition to advanced metering,” said Lou Gust, Itron vice president of sales and marketing for electricity in North America. “In collaboration with Tantalus, we are helping VIWAPA more efficiently manage the delivery of electricity to its customers across multiple islands.”

The VIWAPA deployment represents the first time that Tantalus and Itron have collaborated in the Caribbean area since the two companies announced an alliance in late 2011.

However, Itron and Tantalus together serve a number of utilities elsewhere, including the Appalachian Electric Cooperative, Inland Power & Light and Guyana Power & Light.

“VIWAPA’s initiative to improve its telecommunications and smart grid landscape while faced with non-traditional deployment challenges is admirable,” said Mike Julian, VP of sales for Tantalus. “The Itron-Tantalus solution is perfectly suited to meet the formidable challenge of uniting AMI communications over three separate islands and providing an unmatched suite of cost-saving energy efficiency applications for both the utility and the consumer.”

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