Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) has entered into a contract with Itron Inc. for the installation of more than 326,000 CENTRON solid-state electricity meters equipped with Itron’s AMR technology, within two years, throughout Omaha and parts of southeast Nebraska.
In selecting Itron, OPPD officials said they wanted a better and more efficient method of collecting accurate customer usage information. The vehicle-based mobile AMR system will replace an older generation Itron handheld computer system that OPPD has used for many years. The new electricity meters cover both the more densely populated areas as well as the more rural regions within OPPD’s service territory. In addition, safety concerns for both customers and OPPD staff have been a top priority for OPPD and using Itron’s AMR technology eliminates the need to access private property to read meters.
“The main driver for a complete meter change-out was economics—Itron’s solutions were not only the most economical, they provided other features that will help direct where we go in the future to enhance customer service,” said Larry Ciecior, division manager for OPPD’s customer service operations. “After replacing all our current residential and C&I meters with Itron technology, we are planning to migrate to Itron’s Fixed Network technology within three years by installing network infrastructure over our meter population.”
OPPD uses a third-party meter reading company to cover its service territory, in addition to employing 35 meter readers. Using Itron’s AMR technology, OPPD will not need to contract with a third party and will reduce its meter reading force to 10 employees. The change to Itron technology also allows OPPD to work with the water and gas utilities in Omaha for possible joint meter reading opportunities because those utilities are also Itron customers.
“When we were ready to select a company to automate our electricity meters, we looked for a proven track record and how many meters each company had in service throughout North America,” Ciecior said. “Itron was clearly the leader with its meters and its technology.”