Itron wins smart-meter contract with Pennsylvania's FirstEnergy

Smart-meter developer Itron says it will deploy more than two million smart meters for US utility owner FirstEnergy, which hopes to reduce its own costs and improve the service it offers to its energy customers in Pennsylvania.

The contract will see Itron (Liberty Lake, WA, USA) launch smart-grid services across four Pennsylvania-based utilities owned by FirstEnergy (Akron, OH, USA) – Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric, Pennsylvania Power and West Penn Power.

The work has already been approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and will also involve internet-equipment giant Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA), whose IPv6 network architecture will feature in the electricity distribution system that Itron is to deploy.

Itron and Cisco say the technology will help FirstEnergy to modernize its services and provided “advanced capabilities” to customers.

For instance, consumers will be able to monitor their energy consumption in real time, and make adjustments to usage in order to reduce their expenditure on energy services.

Besides deploying two million smart meters, Itron will also install back-office data collection software for FirstEnergy, including its own meter data management and reporting software as well as Cisco’s Connected Grid Network Management System.

“After a rigorous selection process, Itron proved to be the vendor of choice based on its extensive industry experience and leadership, proven smart metering technology and ability to support [regulatory] requirements comprehensively,” said John Dargie, vice president of energy efficiency at FirstEnergy. “We are excited to realize the potential of this advanced technology that will allow us to modernize our grid today while preparing for smart grid applications of tomorrow.”

Itron said its technology would allow FirstEnergy to take full advantage of “plug-and-play” interoperability and position the utility for future growth.

“In today’s resource-constrained world, responsible management of energy and water is more important than ever,” said Mark de Vere White, president of Itron’s electricity business unit. With smart technologies, we are helping FirstEnergy solve key business challenges and support a more sustainable and energy-efficient future.”

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