Record attendance for the 2005 Itron Users' Conference

The 23rd annual Itron Users' Conference in Dallas once again broke all attendance records this week, as nearly 750 mid- and high-level representatives from utilities around the world converged to network, attend more than 140 work sessions and meet with Itron experts on the latest metering and software technology...

DALLAS, TX, Oct. 25, 2005 -- The 23rd annual Itron Users' Conference once again broke all attendance records this week, as nearly 750 mid- and high-level representatives from utilities around the world converged to network, attend more than 140 work sessions and meet with Itron experts on the latest metering and software technology.

Leading utilities from across the nation converged on Dallas, Sunday through Tuesday this week, including the nation's largest utilities such as Southern California Edison, Duke Energy, Exelon Corporation and New York Power Authority. Independent System Operators (ISO) such as New England ISO and New York ISO were in attendance as well as cooperatives such as Kansas Electric Power Cooperative and Central Electric Power Cooperative of South Carolina. City municipalities, such as the Salt River Project, and energy and water consultants participated in the conference.

"This is by far the best conference I've ever attended," said Bill Buckner with Kentucky American Water Company, attending the annual conference for the first time. "The knowledge offered to the participants is very helpful to take back home and apply. Itron is one of the few companies that shares what they know with their customers. I will be back again next year."

Opening the session on Monday, Itron Chairman and CEO LeRoy Nosbaum, noted that Itron's research and development programs are bringing innovative products to market in meter data collection, energy and water information management, energy forecasting analysis and consulting, revenue assurance and solid-state electricity meters.

"It has been a good year for Itron and for our customers -- we've listened to your needs and returned with products that help you work smarter and more efficiently," Nosbaum said. "You asked about revenue assurance and we returned with powerful tools such as Fixed Network and leak detection to capture that lost revenue. We brought you more software technology this year than ever before.

"We spend almost $50 million a year in research and development and we want to spend that money wisely. We are gathered again to listen to your needs to help you operate more efficiently in the coming year and in the future."

Keynote speaker Steve Cochran, managing director at Economy.com, told attendees that the economy is in a period of transition, which creates a lot of uncertainty for everyone. However, even with the rising cost of natural gas prices, electricity prices and labor expenses, businesses, including utilities, should be able to continue expansion projects.

"The good news is the economy is fundamentally sound and continues to drive investment spending -- more structures, more production, more demand for energy, water and gas services," said Cochran. "A transition is only temporary and prices will recede. We've weathered the storms, literally."

Highlights of the workshops for the annual conference include a panel discussion on the 2005 national energy policy, which focuses on advanced metering technology, time-of-use rates and demand response. Sessions on tamper analysis to help utilities zero-in on theft and leaks in their automatic meter reading (AMR) systems were well attended. Revenue assurance -- chipping away at the high unbilled, uncollected or unaccounted-for loss of revenue -- is a topic on everyone's mind, and several work sessions were offered to address the issues.

Lynnette Cervone, superintendent of gas operations at Southwest Gas Corp.and chairperson for the Itron Users' Advisory Board, said the best part about the conference is people interacting to bring about change in business practices.

"The old saying that we've always done business this way, just doesn't work here," said Cervone. "People here see how things can be accomplished differently and more productively -- they share knowledge and know-how, which enables innovation."

Itron (www.itron.com) is a leading technology provider and critical source of knowledge to the global energy and water industries. Nearly 3,000 utilities worldwide rely on Itron's award-winning technology to provide the knowledge they require to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. Itron creates value for its 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.

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