British Columbia’s electricity system is one more major step closer to modernization today with the confirmation of Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) as BC Hydro’s metering system provider to supply approximately two million new electric meters over the next two years as part of its Smart Metering Program. The Smart Metering Program will keep rates lower than they would have otherwise been in B.C. through savings of about $70 million in the first three years of implementation and a net benefit to customers of over $500 million in the long term.
Itron will provide its OpenWay® smart meters, run over a multi-application communication network powered by Cisco. The associated system software and meter data management system are included in the agreement, providing a cost effective, end-to-end solution. The contract is worth approximately $270 million.
Itron was the successful proponent following a comprehensive and detailed procurement process. “Itron is a top tier metering system provider with proven smart meter solutions, extensive utility experience, and a clear commitment to ensuring BC Hydro achieves our Smart Metering objectives,” said Gary Murphy, Chief Project Officer, BC Hydro.
The Smart Metering Program will make BC Hydro’s grid more reliable; increase public and employee safety; provide immediate savings helping to keep rates low; and cut down on energy theft. Some of the advantages of smart meters over current mechanical meters include:
• Knowledge when a customer’s power is out and when it is has been restored
• Automated meter reading that provides up to date consumption and billing information
• Two way communications between the smart meter and BC Hydro for improved efficiencies
• Capture of voltage and power quality data – in addition to consumption information – to optimize the operation of BC Hydro’s electricity grid
• Automated meter alarms to identify operational problems and some types of theft
“BC Hydro’s comprehensive program helps to advance the practical evolution of grid modernization in North America,” said Philip Mezey, Itron President and Chief Operating Officer, Energy. “We are honored to provide a functionally rich and comprehensive solution that will help BC Hydro meet long-term goals, deliver operating benefits, and empower its customers.”
In addition to BC Hydro, several large utilities in North American are deploying Itron’s OpenWay system, including Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, CenterPoint Energy and Detroit Edison. Itron now has over 16 million OpenWay units under contract.
Itron joins Vancouver-based Corix and international leaders Capgemini as suppliers to BC Hydro’s Smart Metering Program.