(ITRI) Itron & Tropos Networks’ Smart Grid Chosen by Avista Corporation

Itron Inc. (ITRI) and Tropos Networks’ jointly developed Smart Grid solution has been chosen by Avista Corp. (AVA) as part of its $38 million Smart Grid Demonstration Project in the city of Pullman, Washington, and in a nearby locality of Albion.

The sole objective of using automated smart technologies is to simplify the energy distribution system and increase the accountability, reliability and efficiency of the system. Besides, the system will also reduce the outage time, incorporate renewable energy sources, and offer customers solutions to monitor their energy usage.

Itron’s OpenWay Integrated Cell Router and OpenWay 7320 wireless broadband router will be used for smart grid communications. Both incorporate Tropos’ GridCom, a wireless broadband technology. The network will connect smart meters and distribution automation devices, laying the foundation of cost-effective, reliable and high performance communications, making the operations and deployment easier.

Itron’s OpenWay Control, which is based on Tropos Control, will be managing the visibility and configuration and will also monitor the performance and network fault.

For Avista, the implementation of the OpenWay-Tropos smart grid communications solution will combine the two network technologies, reducing the number of devices to be managed and supported by Avista. As part of the project, the installation of Itron OpenWay meters for Avista’s 13,000 electric and 5,000 gas customers has already been completed in May.

The project will also enable Avista to centrally monitor the situation and take quick actions for power outages and decide which DA devices need repair and maintenance with the help of real-time communication provided to DA devices. Thus, this part of the project includes the installation of 13 distribution feeders, 45 reclosers, 20 capacitor banks and 800 transformers, using the Tropos GridCom wireless broadband network for communications.

Itron-Tropos’ smart grid technology is economical and provides reliable data backhaul to the utility and support for advanced distribution applications. Thus, the combined solution from both the companies is likely to provide a powerful foundation for Demonstration project in Pullman.

Prior to this, Itron-Tropos’ smart grid solution was selected by DTE Energy Co. energy provider to 2.1 million electric customers in Southeastern Michigan along with another company, Tropos Networks, for its $168 million SmartCurrents program. The phase one of the program extended to more than 500 square miles and included the installation of approximately 800,000 Itron OpenWay meters, of which almost 300,000 OpenWay meters were already installed. We currently have a Zacks #4 Rank (short-term Sell recommendation) on the stock.

Itron is a leading technology provider to the global energy and water industries. It is the world’s leading supplier of intelligent metering, data collection and utility software solutions, with nearly 8,000 utilities worldwide, relying on its technology to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. It competes with the likes of General Electric Co. (GE) and Roper Industries Inc. (ROP).

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