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Itron Inc. has signed a contract with Tacoma Water, a division of Tacoma Public Utilities, to deploy Itron’s Water Fixed Network 2.5 in a pilot project that automates meter reading data collection. Tacoma Water expects to begin deploying the system in early 2007.
The deployment will begin by automating 500 meters in an area of South Tacoma. Manual electronic meter reading will continue to be used throughout the project and customer billing will remain unchanged.
“Tacoma Water is exploring the benefits of automatic meter reading to understand how the technology can help us work more efficiently, save money and provide better customer service,” said Anthony Lindgren, Tacoma Water’s project manager. “It is apparent to us that multiple meter readings can provide us with additional data for use other than billing and we want to investigate those possibilities.”
The meters will transmit information such as hourly readings, notices of possible leaks or tampering, and meter identification information to Tacoma Water using Tacoma Power’s telecommunications network. Itron’s Water Fixed Network enables frequent collection of water consumption information, providing a rich source of data to improve leak detection, support conservation programs and improve customer service by eliminating estimated billing.
Itron has provided Tacoma Public Utilities with meter reading equipment for more than 20 years. As a result, systems that interface with the existing billing system are already in place, eliminating the need to expend resources on developing an interface for the initial deployment.
“Water utilities are looking to reduce water loss, improve leak detection and manage rate structures that encourage conservation,” said Lou Gust, vice president of Itron water sales. “We’ve partnered with Tacoma Public Utilities for many years now—they know us, they trust us and they have confidence in our knowledge and technology.”