RALEIGH, NC and LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. - December 19, 2013 - Tantalus, a leading provider of real-time smart grid communications, and Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI), a world-leading provider of technologies that help utilities measure, manage and analyze energy and water, announced today that Inland Power & Light (IPL) has selected a Tantalus-Itron solution for public power to provide advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and smart grid services for the approximately 39,000 members in its cooperative in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. The fully integrated TUNet® - Tantalus Utility Network - platform will serve as the core foundation for IPL to deploy Itron AMI-ready meters to facilitate the use of advanced applications such as automated metering, interval meter data collection, prepay, and power quality management.
"After an extensive investigatory and technology review process, IPL has selected the Itron-Tantalus solution for our utility communications network/services deployment," said John Francisco, Chief of Energy Resources for IPL. "It was important for us to select a long-term technology solution which we felt would provide reliable two-way coverage for our large and geographically challenging service territory, leverage our existing network of communications infrastructure, and prove to be a valuable resource for our membership and community. This was a stringent list of requirements, but after completing our due diligence process and working with several utilities across the country that use this solution, we felt certain that the Itron-Tantalus joint offering was the ideally matched solution to meet our needs."
IPL's initial deployment plans centered on a power line carrier (PLC) solution due to the availability of existing powerlines and widespread adoption among rural electric cooperatives. However, the inherent limitations in data delivery speed and distance with PLC as well as the extensive upgrades and additional maintenance to substations that IPL would have had to undertake made the solution difficult to justify for a long-term smart grid business case. After reviewing propagation studies of TUNet's unique terrain-hugging 220 MHz WAN and 900 MHz LAN hybrid RF network, IPL concluded that real-time, bandwidth-heavy coverage would be feasible throughout their territory. The joint solution will introduce the capability to proactively manage outages, manage wholesale power supply costs through peak management, and provide data for member-serving energy efficiency programs and applications.
This project is a joint effort between Tantalus, Itron, and General Pacific, one of the leading wholesale stocking distributors in the Pacific Northwest. IPL will utilize the newly released TUNet-enabled CENTRON® II electric meters for their deployment. This high-performance residential meter will deliver granular meter data to TUNet applications which will enable IPL to immediately utilize features such as interval meter reading, remote disconnect/reconnect, and power diversion management.
"Itron is excited to work with a utility that's in our backyard in the Inland Northwest. IPL will benefit from Itron's highly adaptable technology which is designed to help utilities more efficiently manage energy and water resources," said Lou Gust, Itron vice president of sales and marketing for electricity in North America. "Together with Tantalus, we are helping IPL realize the potential of smarter technologies and create a more resourceful world."
"IPL's service territory is diverse, but their need for highly real-time data driven operational applications is real," said Tammy Zucco, Tantalus Chief Marketing Officer. "Tantalus excels in both understanding the needs and challenges of public power cooperative and municipal utilities and delivering matching solutions to solve real challenges. We are dedicated to serving utility partners like IPL with the same high quality and cutting edge technologies that are often only easily accessible by larger utilities."
In 2011, Itron and Tantalus collaborated to offer a joint migration path to two-way AMI for municipal and cooperative utilities in North and Central America and the Caribbean. IPL joins the rapidly growing domestic and international Itron-Tantalus customer base which includes utilities like Appalachian Electric Cooperative (AEC), Piedmont Municipal Power Agency (PMPA) and Guyana Power & Light (GPL). The joint solution is designed to utilize existing infrastructure where possible to extend the value of those investments and to enable utilities to dynamically view and manage grid performance, proactively diagnose and resolve problems like outages, and automate many operational processes resulting in improved customer service.