Aclara buys cellular business to enhance power line communications technology

Aclara, a provider of intelligent infrastructure solutions and a member of the utility solutions group of ESCO Technologies Inc., acquired the assets of Metrum Technologies LLC of Waco, Texas.

Metrum is a provider of wireless public network communications products for electric utilities as well as hosted software systems and network operations for its solutions. Metrum's research and development center located in Dallas will also become part of Aclara. Terms were not disclosed.

Aclara initially will deploy Metrum's internet-protocol (IP)-based solutions to enhance Aclara's TWACS technology in rural electric cooperative and municipals, providing a high-availability, high-bandwidth, low-latency communications channel.

The technology also provides for high-density meter deployments as well as demand response, distribution automation, SCADA and commercial and industrial applications. Metrum's technology is already deployed at 350 utilities throughout the U.S.

Aclara's acquisition acknowledges a trend by utilities to deploy cellular solutions using existing public networks. Market research firm Pike Research, in fact, has forecasted cellular communications will grow by 20 percent in the smart grid market by 2016.

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