Itron launches new AMR network in its own backyard

Itron and the City of Spokane, Washington have successfully installed Itron's new Water Fixed Network to enhance security at the city's airport, and save the city money and time with the power of network meter reading. This is one of many new water fixed network deployments for Itron throughout the country...

SPOKANE, WA, March 7, 2005 -- The city of Spokane, Wash. has successfully installed Itron's new Water Fixed Network to enhance security at the city's airport, and save the city money and time with the power of network meter reading.

The fixed network pilot project involves approximately 500 Itron automatic meter reading (AMR) endpoints that are being deployed in the Spokane International Airport region of Spokane. The city has thus far installed remote, wall-mounted AMR endpoints to automate indoor water meters in the area, but expects to automate water meters in pits in the near future as well. Bob Zalewski, foreman for the city project, said it used to take one meter reader 3.5 days to read the meters in the area due to the sprawling nature of the region. The city also estimates that the population in that location will nearly double in size in the next three to four years, with the development of a shopping mall and more residential homes. The Itron fixed network product can easily expand to accommodate this projected growth.

"This was a good opportunity to for us to see how Itron's Water Fixed Network would work for us and help us manage growth and security issues in that area," said Zalewski. "We have about 200 customers under the system now, plus the airport, where we constantly have to get security clearance to enter each gate each time we do meter reads. It has been time consuming for us, and for airport security officials."

To date, the city has deployed more than 200 high-powered AMR endpoints with two network collectors covering 10 square-miles and can now read those meters several times per day without ever traveling to the site. In addition, security checks at the airport have been eliminated, since meter readers no longer have to enter airport property.

"Just the time savings alone has been tremendous," said Jeff Lilly, Spokane Water Services supervisor. "This is an excellent system that is working well for us so far. Security issues, manpower issues and customer service make Itron's solutions attractive for our needs. We are also able to give our customers more detailed history of their usage so they can better understand their bills."

The deployment will also help support leak detection for commercial properties, said Zalewski, where leaks are sometimes difficult to pinpoint. Zalewski said his office has had requests in the past for more frequent meter readings to keep track of water usage and suspected water leaks, but until now, the utility was unable to respond to those requests.

Michael Schleich, director of product line management for Itron's meter data collection products, said Itron applied all it learned about fixed networks to deliver the industry's best in technology for water data collection, leak management and tamper analysis.

"Itron's water fixed network is a comprehensive solution that provides more than just usage data for customer billing -- it is a powerful tool to optimize the revenue cycle by increasing efficiency, reducing costs, delivering consistently accurate billing, enhancing revenue protection and managing customer growth without adding staff," said Schleich. "Estimated meter reads are eliminated, field visits are reduced and water conservation programs are enhanced. We are delighted to provide the City of Spokane with state of the art technology to run their operations more efficiently."

Itron ( is a leading technology provider and critical source of knowledge to the global energy and water industries. More than 3,000 utilities worldwide rely on its technology to provide the knowledge they require to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. The company creates value for clients by providing industry-leading solutions for electricity metering; meter data collection; energy information management; demand response; load forecasting, analysis and consulting services; distribution system design and optimization; web-based workforce automation; and enterprise and residential energy management.


More in Energy Management