/ Electric Grid / Itron Shows How IoT is Changing Utilities

Itron Shows How IoT is Changing Utilities

Matt Ball on December 10, 2014 - in Electric Grid, Energy, Projects, Smart Cities

Itron will supply a powerful new communications platform designed to help improve the reliability and efficiency of a large power grid in Brazil.

AES Eletropaulo, which serves 6.8 million customers in the state of São Paulo, signed an agreement to use Itron’s OpenWay Riva solution. The platform is designed to provide the utility with unprecedented insight into its grid operations, allowing it to be much more responsive.

Empowering utilities with Internet of Things

As the video below explains, Itron Riva is a communications and intelligence platform that helps turn devices and sensors in the field into smart devices. With embedded operating systems and processors, devices can make decisions in real-time.

This boosts reliability and efficiency in two ways. First, it reduces the amount of data flowing over the communication network, since devices no longer have to constantly check in. Second, it makes better use of staffing resources, since people only need to intervene when a device can’t solve a problem itself.

In Brazil, Itron’s solution further improves communication by adapting in real-time. Devices can communicate either via radio frequency or power line carrier. The system chooses the best form of communication at any particular moment in time.

This is Itron’s first deal in Latin America, and the completed system will connect meters with software applications to improve service quality, lower operating costs and reduce lost power – all important to cities that want to attract and keep businesses that demand a reliable source of power.

Giving utilities more real-time options

Meanwhile, Itron has also partnered with Tantalus to help automate metering. Together, they have introduced an automated Encoder Receiver Transmitter (ERT), which helps utilities easily migrate to real-time metering from drive-by or walk-by collection methods.

Their joint solution builds upon existing ERT technology that gas, electric and water utilities may be using. This overlay approach allows utilities to preserve, rather than replace, more of their technology investments.

Texas-based Garland Power & Light, one of the first customers for the joint solution, was able to migrate while keeping its existing hardware and software, including its billing system. The utility gained operational efficiencies and more accurate billing without even having to change customer interfaces or processes.

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