Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI) announced today that, to date, DTE Energy has installed 800,000 Itron endpoints, including smart electric meters and gas modules, in its Southeastern Michigan service area. This marks a significant milestone for DTE Energy’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project, which is a key component of the utility’s SmartCurrents initiative. SmartCurrents aims to modernize DTE Energy’s electric grid, improve distribution system reliability and efficiency, as well as lower energy delivery costs and empower electric customers with more information about their power usage.
In total, DTE Energy’s AMI project includes installation of over 3 million electric and gas meters in Michigan homes and businesses. The advanced meters allow DTE Energy to get actual meter readings, essentially eliminating estimated bills. The meters also allow the utility to quickly locate and reduce the length of power outages, as well as remotely connect and disconnect service for faster response to customers. Customers also will be able to track, manage and control their energy usage as a result of timely information provided by the meters.
“With Itron’s next-generation utility technology, DTE Energy is modernizing our grid and lowering the cost of energy delivery to our customers,” said Bob Sitkauskas, manager of AMI, Major Enterprise Projects at DTE Energy. “We are very pleased with the system’s performance. It is delivering the automation capabilities we require while deriving significant distribution and consumer benefits.”
Furthering the momentum of DTE Energy’s SmartCurrents project, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) recently issued a report on AMI, concluding that smart meters are an important component to the success of an emerging smart grid. The Commission also noted that electromechanical meters currently installed at many utilities, including DTE Energy, are obsolete and out of production. Furthermore, the MPSC staff report said that based on its review of extensive research, federal health and safety regulations provide assurance that smart meters represent a safe technology.