Itron Inc. and Nighthawk will offer electricity providers advanced features and functionality for their electric meter deployments. Under terms of the agreement, Itron will directly market Nighthawk public wireless communications modules within its electricity meters, allowing utilities to leverage public cellular networks for two-way transmission of critical metering and event data—including commands to remotely disconnect and reconnect electric meters. This functionality will augment Itron’s basic metering and existing automated meter reading (AMR) solutions, which include fixed networks, mobile collection and handheld meter reading.
Collaboration between the two companies allows full integration of the Nighthawk RDM 950 public wireless communications module into Itron’s CENTRON II meters for two-way data transfer and commands, while still maintaining existing one-way Itron ERT communications used for traditional AMR. This plug-and-play solution allows the meter to effectively and reliably communicate critical information to the utility. The solution can also be used surgically where no communication infrastructure exists. Nighthawk’s Utility WebConnect software, used to seamlessly manage field and utility interactions within the system, is also part of the solution.
Customers using this Itron meter with Nighthawk communication technologies are able to establish two-way connectivity down to the meter, strategically, where and when they want it. Popular applications can include multifamily locations and college towns; time-of-use or other rate-based trial programs; distant or costly-to-reach field locations; seasonal residences; and prepaid electric customers. With the solution, utilities are also able to secure remote voltage and consumption readings to enable more cost-effective management of both transient locations and operating conditions.