Echelon's NES System has been selected under the European Union public tender 65798 -- "eTender Automatic Meter Reading" issued by the Dutch utility Nuon. The companies have entered into a letter of intent, with final agreements expected later in February. Echelon will act as a lead supplier for the project, providing approximately 25,000 intelligent, communicating electricity meters and associated data concentrator and NES system software infrastructure. Initial installations are planned to begin in the second quarter of 2006 with final acceptance or first quarter of 2007. Revenue to Echelon for the project is expected to be approximately $2 million, and is not expected to be recognized until after this acceptance.
As part of this deployment, the NES System will also be used to communicate to approximately 25,000 gas meters via a Meter-Bus (M-Bus) interface, a European standard for connecting various consumption meters such as heat, water, and gas meters. Using the newest members of Echelon's second-generation NES electricity meter family, which can act as an "M-Bus master" for up to four attached M-Bus devices, these gas meters will be able to report alarms and be read over the NES network on a fixed schedule or on demand, and the usage can be profiled over time. For grid operators, like Nuon, that serve both gas and electricity customers, the ability to read the gas meters over the same infrastructure being deployed for the electricity meters can bring significant cost savings and service improvements.
Echelon's NES system provides an open, bidirectional, and extensible infrastructure that enables a comprehensive range of utility applications for every aspect of a utility's operation, from metering, to customer services, to distribution operations, to value-added services. The system enables a comprehensive set of energy services, including: two-way automated meter reading; multi-tiered billing; time-of-use and real-time pricing; prepaid metering; remote electrical disconnect and reconnect; distribution system asset optimization; electricity outage detection and restoration management; blackout and brownout elimination; comprehensive revenue protection; real-time direct load control; power quality measurement; and extensive tamper detection features.