PARIS Ė Panasonic Corp. and Itron Inc.said they have joined forces to develop a smart meter solution that meets Japan's electric utilities needs and supports communication protocols.
Under the terms of the agreement, Panasonic will be the primary bidder for meter and communications. Itron's role is to design, develop, manufacture and deliver to Panasonic its OpenWay smart meter with and without 3G cellular communications compliant with the Japanese specifications, said Itron's spokesperson.
Itron (Liberty Lake, Wash.) said OpenWay allows utilities to measure, collect, and analyze detailed data more frequently from electricity and gas meters. This, in turn, gives utilities better insights into customersí energy usage and consumption patterns. In addition, collecting more timely, granular data allows utilities to offer time-based pricing programs for their customers, which help customers save money and consume less energy. OpenWay technology provides the time-differentiated meter readings needed to support these time-based rates.
Itron and Panasonic said the solution will support multiple communication options, including cellular, RF mesh and Power Line Carrier to meet specific business needs and geographies. The spokesperson added that the metering specifications have been announced while the communications and head-end specifications are expected to be announced this month.
First meter and communications are expected in October 2013 for several 100K meters for project field trials, Itron's spokesperson said.
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