Itron smart-grid tech to be used in National Grid pilot

Itron’s smart-grid technology is to be used by National Grid in the rollout of 10,000 smart meters in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The announcement of the deal between the smart-grid specialist and the utility provider follows the successful completion of a so-called ‘early field trial’ (EFT) involving the deployment of 5,000 meters in Worcester from February 2012.

According to Itron (Liberty Lake, USA), National Grid (New York, USA) will begin to roll out the 10,000 meters – in what it calls a “full pilot” – early in 2013.

Itron’s smart-grid technology is to be used by National Grid in the rollout of 10,000 smart meters in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The announcement of the deal between the smart-grid specialist and the utility provider follows the successful completion of a so-called ‘early field trial’ (EFT) involving the deployment of 5,000 meters in Worcester from February 2012.

According to Itron (Liberty Lake, USA), National Grid (New York, USA) will begin to roll out the 10,000 meters – in what it calls a “full pilot” – early in 2013.

The full pilot will build on the smart-grid infrastructure from the EFT, using a communications network based on Cisco (San Jose, USA) technology, with back-office applications supplied through Itron’s cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) offerings.

The pilot is aimed at evaluating the integration of home automation, dynamic pricing and distribution automation as a way of improving services and allowing customers to save money through increased energy awareness.

Customers will be able to access details of their energy usage online, using mobile-phone applications or through various technologies installed in homes and businesses.

Itron says the EFT demonstrated the reliability and resilience of the network, which helped National Grid’s efforts to restore power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“We have been very pleased with the results of the early field trial,” said Cheri Warren, the vice president of asset management for National Grid. “We look forward to working with Itron and Cisco on this next phase of implementing our smart grid pilot program.”

Itron claims National Grid will be able to rapidly scale up the solution in future.

“The results of this pilot will surely influence the industry as we look to evolve smart grid communications from proprietary systems to true multi-application networks built on open standards,” said Russ Vanos, vice president of global smart grid and business development at Itron.