Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Pepco Holdings and Carlsbad Municipal Water District with Excellence in Resourcefulness Awards at Itron Utility Week

Frost & Sullivan honored utilities for their societal and business impacts on their journey to reduce energy and water waste at the opening General Session of Itron Utility Week. Read the full press release below.

Frost & Sullivan recognized the recipients of its annual Excellence in Resourcefulness Awards, Pepco Holdings (Pepco and Delmarva Power), and Carlsbad Municipal Water District, for their commitment and ability to significantly reduce energy and water use as a result of recent and successful technology implementation. The achievements of these utilities were recognized during Itron Utility Week in Marco Island, Fla.

Pepco Holdings was recognized for its Energy Wise Rewards and newly launched BYOD program enhancement, which allows the company to reduce air conditioning run times on peak demand days.

Pepco Holdings was also recognized for its Thermostat Optimization programs. These programs allow the company to adjust customer thermostat temperature set points throughout the year to generate savings for customers. The program offers a customized Virtual Energy Assessment that suggests an energy-efficiency program that would be most beneficial to the customer. The assessment is developed based on energy consumption, weather, and thermostat data.

"The strategy by Pepco Holdings, and Delmarva Power to add BYOD to its Energy Wise Rewards program is closely aligned with key customer trends and needs. These companies are being recognized for the second year in a row due to their continued effort to improve their customer-service oriented programs. Frost & Sullivan anticipates the penetration rate of smart thermostats to reach 63.7% in North America by the end of 2025. By capturing BYOD customers, these companies will be in a position to further improve the utility's ability to reach its resourcefulness goals," said Farah Saeed, Research Director, Digital Grids at Frost & Sullivan.

The Carlsbad Municipal Water District developed a plan to improve its meter reading efficiency, improve system maintenance, reduce its water loss and increase water conservation. The utility took a 12-year plan and reduced it to a five-year replacement plan by switching to automated meter reading technology; it has deployed over 30,000 water meters equipped with intelligent communication modules. With this new advanced system, the utility can troubleshoot and identify abnormally high water usage by customers. By utilizing proactive customer outreach, the utility has helped customers reduce their consumption by 37% within six months.

Frost & Sullivan believes the Carlsbad Municipal Water District has delivered exceptional results through its strategic investments in progressive solutions that resourcefully manage its water supplies.

"Carlsbad Municipal Water District took a thorough and careful approach to integrate the AMI network and overcame the challenges of a hilly topography. The water agency exemplifies a public entity that takes its responsibility for sustainability very seriously, especially given the location of a drought-prone area along with its ongoing risk of wildfires," stated Saeed.

As part of the selection process, Frost & Sullivan conducted in-depth research and interviews and evaluated utilities against industry best practices and the decision criteria, including societal impact and business impact for each category. Indicators for societal impact included improving customer awareness and participation, enabling behavioral change to reduce waste through customer engagement and technology-driven programs, and yielding impressive waste reduction results that benefit the overall served community. Indicators for business impact included drafting a clear vision to address excessive waste through technology implementation, achieving operational effectiveness as a result of successful strategy for sustainability, and strengthening a utility's brand image as a leader for sustainability.


What to Explore at IUW 2019: Knowledge Center Spotlight

Flights are booked, our solution and product demos are prepped, and the sunscreen is packed – it’s time for Itron Utility Week (IUW) 2019. This year’s event kicks off on Oct. 11 with pre-conference trainings and hits full steam on Oct. 13 with the Knowledge Conference.

Showcasing Itron's comprehensive solutions and partner offerings, the Knowledge Center is the place to connect with experts and learn more about our technology and partners. This year, we’re excited to share new demonstrations with IUW attendees focusing on:

  • Grid Management, which enables utilities to enhance resiliency, reliability and efficiency; extends secure grid monitoring and control; and optimizes grid operations. Within this area, attendees will learn more about Distributed Energy Management, distribution automation – featuring FLISR (fault location, isolation and service restoration) and Volt/VAR optimization – as well as grid operations and grid resiliency with demonstrations of Itron’s pole sensor solution and new Harsh Environment Bridge.

  • ERTs, together with our customers, we’ve deployed 100+ million ERTs and counting! This proven technology platform has been key to driving significant utility operational savings for decades. Check out how we’re continuing to invest in ERT technology to deliver innovation for utilities while extending the value of those assets. This station will feature Itron’s widely deployed 100-series ERTs as well as new technologies such as the 500W, 500G and OpenWay Riva Gas Disconnect.

  • Intelis Gas meter, the award-winning smart gas meter, which extends intelligence to the edge of the network, moving the gas distribution network from a one-way gas delivery mechanism to an interactive energy network that can deliver gas more safely and efficiently.

  • Temetra, a globally proven cloud-based mobile meter data collection and management solution which is expanding into the North American water market.

While you’re in the Knowledge Center, be sure to tour the Itron Experience to see how our solutions come together to deliver outcomes for utilities and smart cities. There are multiple new areas within the Itron Experience that connect to products and solutions featured in the Knowledge Center, such as:

  • Safety and AMI: Watch an interactive demonstration focusing on Itron’s methane detection and disconnect solution and follow this up with a jaunt to the gas distribution and safety station where you can learn more about how you can enhance safety and efficiency through advanced technology and services; optimize existing business processes by utilizing sensors, communications and analytics; and provide advanced asset management and increased safety to your customers.
  • Take a Load Off! Interactive Game Show: See in real time how the load disaggregation distributed intelligence (DI) application provides insight into consumer energy usage in order to help them better manage consumption. Follow this up with a trip to our distributed intelligence station to learn more about other DI applications such as high impedance detection, residential neutral fault detection, theft via meter bypass detection and Volt/Var optimization.

Also new this year—as part of Itron’s commitment to innovation, we’re exploring groundbreaking concepts using emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality, Machine Learning and Digital Twin technology. Visit us in the emerging technologies area at IUW and take a virtual walk through a Los Angeles neighborhood, change rooftop materials, add clean energy and battery storage and experience the impact to the local environment. Go inside these homes and learn how data drives energy efficiency by giving homeowners the choice to consume electricity primarily when it is available from renewable sources. Continue the virtual journey under the neighborhood, where data delivers a baseline visualization of the water distribution network. Discover how emerging technologies expand the possibilities for anomaly detection, predictive maintenance, expansion and clean energy planning. See the power of data drive the creation of digital twin networks and how virtual results inform solutions to improve the quality of life for real people in real places.

There so much to see and explore at #IUW19 – we can’t wait to see you there! Visit www.itron.com/iuw to learn more.


Saving Sea Turtles with Streetlights

Every year in Florida, baby sea turtles scurry from their nests at night and make their way to the ocean. Thousands of nests are laid every year on Florida’s beaches. Tourists from around the world travel to Florida, which is home to over 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the continental United States, to see the turtles hatch.

Unfortunately, light pollution can lead baby sea turtles away from the ocean. In addition, artificial lighting can interfere with sea turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. Since sea turtles use natural light to navigate their way to the ocean, light pollution can distract them, leading them away from the safety of the ocean and into populated areas where they can die from fatigue, dehydration or other threats.

Working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to protect these creatures, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is utilizing its existing Itron wireless mesh network to monitor and control 500,000 smart streetlights. Prior to making its streetlights “smart,” FPL would dispatch crews to all the streetlights on roadways near nesting sites and disable the lights for the turtle season (typically March through October). This was an imperfect process. Now with its connected smart streetlights, the energy company is able to program the streetlights to be off during hatching season and monitor the status of the lights to know if they are on when they shouldn’t be (e.g. after maintenance).

Itron’s network and smart streetlight control equip companies like FPL to remotely control lighting while laying the groundwork for other smart city services. For each company, the reason for smart lighting can meet different needs. For Florida, it’s about sea turtles – for other cities, this technology can enhance public safety or monitor air quality.

At this year’s Itron Utility Week (IUW) in Marco Island, Florida, we’re all about the power of community. By bringing together industry leaders, we believe we can find solutions to universal and specific problems facing utilities and cities around the world. Our ability to transform the industry lies in community – and that community includes all species that share our planet.

Learn more about IUW 2019 here.


Creating a More Resourceful World…Together

At Itron Utility Week (IUW) 2019, we are focusing on the power of community. Our partners play an important role in that community, and together we are helping utilities, municipalities and consumers all across the globe. It’s truly a collaborative effort in creating a more resourceful world.

Cisco, the platinum sponsor of this year’s conference, and Itron have a long history of working together to deliver next-generation smart grid communication infrastructure. Together, Itron and Cisco created a standards-based, highly secure technology featuring full IPv6 implementation supporting multiple field area network IoT applications, enabling utilities and cities to safely, securely and reliably deliver critical infrastructure services to communities in more than 100 countries.

Panasonic is a gold sponsor of IUW. Itron and Panasonic have worked together for over a decade, focusing on high quality metering solutions and meter reading tools. Itron recently introduced the Panasonic Android Toughpad, a rugged smartphone to use with Itron’s newest AMR solution: Itron Mobile for FCS. Toughbooks and Toughpads are built to meet the military’s most demanding specification (MIL-STD-810G) and offer unmatched reliability in harsh environments, standing up to water submersion, extreme temperature, vibration, impact, dirt and dust.

Verizon, also a gold sponsor of this year’s event, and Itron have partnered together for many years to apply creative IoT, machine to machine and cellular connected meter solutions. The goal is to ensure 100% connectivity, provide stringent service level requirements for specific use-cases and optimize the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by minimizing the number of mitigation devices needed in the network. Applications include hard-to-reach meters in a RF-Mesh deployment, 100% direct connect cellular meter deployments, sparsely deployed meters (where mesh is not economic) for the solar provider market and opt-in smart meter programs such as pre-payment.

SAP, this year’s silver sponsor, is the leading provider of on-premise and cloud-based utilities solutions worldwide. SAP for Utilities solutions help improve operational efficiency, mitigate risk and increase profitability, helping clients gain enterprise-wide visibility for better decision making and improved responsiveness in mission-critical areas.

In addition, the Knowledge Center is a showcase of Itron’s comprehensive solutions and partner offerings. Be sure to stop by and learn more from our exhibitors:

Stay tuned for additional blogs throughout the next week as we ramp up IUW 2019.


Delivering Intelligent Connectivity: Unlock the Potential of the IIoT

Communities and utilities have a lot to consider when choosing a partner for a digital transformation initiative.

Here at Itron, we are critical infrastructure experts. For decades, we have innovated and delivered integrated technology solutions to enable valuable outcomes for our customers. We start with the “end goal in mind,” serving as a strategic and consultative partner throughout your journey.

Our strategy is simple. We apply intelligent connectivity to unlock the potential of the industrial internet of things. We map best-in-class technologies to business needs based on performance, security and cost. We stand-up for the performance of our solutions over the course of your business initiative. Itron’s open platform enables seamless interoperability across a diverse range of use cases, ensuring solution flexibility. Our multi-generational platform is designed to last for decades – and we are always innovating to create breakthrough use cases through our developer program.

With this proven approach, Itron’s Industrial IoT platform is enabling digital transformation for utilities and cities worldwide.

Watch the video to learn more.


Prep List: Time to Get Ready for IUW 2019

Itron Utility Week (IUW) 2019 kicks off on Oct. 11 with pre-conference trainings and hits full steam on Oct. 13 with the Knowledge Conference. As you prepare for your trek to Marco Island, Florida, we’ve got all the details to help ensure your trip is a success. Be sure to keep these items in mind:

  • Download the IUW app to stay in-the-know. The IUW app is your up-to-date resource for the complete conference schedule.
  • Build your schedule ahead of time. Use the IUW app to build your schedule of everything you want to attend at the conference. Please remember that adding a session to your personal schedule does not guarantee a seat.
  • Sign up for the Itron Experience tour in the Knowledge Center. Have you ever wanted to see Itron’s solutions in action? Join us for a guided tour through our interactive demo space.
  • Volunteer at the beach cleanup. Join us Sunday morning for a volunteer beach clean-up and educational experience with JW Marriott Naturalists to learn about the natural habitat and wildlife. While we walk, we will be clearing any debris that is hazardous to help keep the beach clean and safe for the wildlife living there. Register now.
  • Join the Turtle Trot. Lace up your tennis shoes and join us to celebrate the power of community with a lively 5k (3.1 miles) race on the beach. Whether you prefer a brisk walk, casual jog or a full-on sprint, this is for everyone. Stick around afterward and take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico to cool off! Learn more here.
  • You’ll be on Eastern Time (ET). Set your watch accordingly—you don’t want to miss anything!
  • It’s going to be warm. Marco Island averages a daily maximum temperature in October that's between 70 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Conference attire is business casual. But be sure to pack your comfortable and fun beach attire for the Beach Block Party on Monday night.

We can’t wait to see you on Marco Island in a few weeks!

Want to learn more? Be sure to visit https://www.itron.com/na/events/itron-utility-week for all things IUW 2019.


Improving Sustainability at Commercial and Industrial Companies: It Begins with Measurement

As I read the news of those who hit the streets for the climate strike, I reflected on my own habits. I consider myself an environmentally responsible person. But what am I actually doing and how am I improving? Am I measuring my impact? As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

I take public transportation a lot, walk and use a bikeshare. I barely turn on my TV…but I have not one but two laptops, two phones, a computer monitor, home printer/scanner, shredder – and everything now needs to be plugged in and charged. These technological advancements seem like “necessities,” but do I really need to use an electric toothbrush? How much is our technologically-advanced lifestyle adding to energy usage and to GHG emissions? Is it a drop in the bucket, or contributing to a rise in sea level?

Each month when I receive my utility bill, I revel in how low I can get my bill ($25.67 is my 12-month low currently). However, in the peak months of the summer when the air conditioning is “needed,” I’m just guessing on my energy usage until the end of the month and then am dismayed with a $150 bill – too late for me to make a change in usage.

Some of our commercial and industrial (C&I) customers have been telling us they don’t want to be surprised either when the monthly utility bill comes. C&I customers would like access to their electric and water usage data frequently enough so that they can detect unintended usage or waste quickly and take steps to improve their sustainability numbers. That’s just what we at Itron Idea Labs are working on – getting customers the energy and water data they need enterprise-wide and as close to real-time as possible so that they can identify ways to reduce waste and unintended usage. Because once it is measured, C&I customers can improve – and small changes at large companies can make a big difference.

If we want to REALLY be sustainable, we have to take a more active approach at reducing our impact in the world. That all starts with knowing how much we are consuming and emitting. To learn how Itron can help your business measure your energy and water usage and take measures to improve, visit itron.com.


Averaging the Weather First or Averaging the Energy Forecast

There is a question that has long vexed me: If we calculate a normal series of weather variables by averaging them first and running them through a model, do we get the same energy forecast if we run each year’s weather variables through the model and average the energy forecasts?

To answer this question, I did the following:

  1. Calculated ‘normal’ weather as an average for the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 for both Cooling Degree Days (CDD) and Heating Degree Days (HDD) variables. Clearly, nobody should use four years as the basis for calculating normal weather. The point of this is to calculate a ‘normal’ series over a manageable number of years for illustrative purposes.
  2. Built a simple monthly residential average-use model, which includes four variables:
    • Trend Variable: A simple linear trend variable
    • CDD65: Cycle-weighted CDD with a base of 65 degrees, which contains actual values during history and ‘normal’ during the forecast period
    • HDD55: Cycle-weighted HDD with a base of 55 degrees, which contains actual values during history and ‘normal’ during the forecast period
    • BDays: Billing days per month
  3. Executed the forecast model with the ‘normal’ CDD65 and HDD55 variables with the following weights for each year under the following five scenarios:

In other words, the AvgScenario calculated the normal January as the average of the Januarys in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The same is true for the normal December, which is calculated as the average of the December values in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The 2010Scenario calculated the normal as simply the 2010 values. That is, January will always be the January 2010 value and December will always be the December 2010 value.

And so forth.

I then extracted the forecast values from each of the five scenarios and compared the AvgScenario to the average of the other four scenarios.

The following compares the predicted values from the AvgScenario (which contains the average weather data) with the 2010 scenario (which contains the 2010 weather), along with the 2011, 2012 and 2013 scenarios. The final column, labeled AvgOfScenario is the average of 2010Scenario, 2011Scenario, 2012Scenario and 2013Scenario.

The takeaway is that the two highlighted columns (AvgScenario and AvgOfScenarios) display identical values. The answer to our original question is: Yes, we do in fact obtain the same results if we average the weather first or if we run each year through the model and average the results.

To download the associated MetrixND project file, click here.


IUW 2019: Connecting Our Community

Itron Utility Week (IUW) kicks off next month with a focus on the power of community—because our power to transform the industry lies in community. This simple message translates into an incredible opportunity for Itron customers looking to discover new technologies, services and operations to transform how they deliver and manage critical resources. As the utility industry’s premier customer-focused event, IUW welcomes nearly 1,000 attendees from a range of industries to connect with peers and learn about the comprehensive solutions offered by Itron and our trusted partners. This year’s event is hosted in Marco Island, Florida, Oct. 11 – 18.

The Knowledge Conference – with over 90 breakout sessions led by industry peers, two insightful keynotes, an interactive product showcase and a host of networking opportunities – is the main event at Itron Utility Week. One of this year’s big picture sessions, Getting to Yes - Helping Utilities Make the Case with Regulators, will be a fireside chat with Nick Wagner, NARUC and Dan Pfeiffer, Itron, who will focus on regulator expectations and the ins and outs of securing commission approval. Our second big picture session, Grid Modernization and Resiliency Amid Natural Disasters, will discuss how grid modernization and resiliency support cities and utilities facing natural disasters with panelists from Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light.

In addition, attendees will be able to dig in on a range of topics from four themed tracks: advanced applications and outcomes, data management, mobile and measurement solutions, and multi-purpose network solutions.

Within these tracks, the breakout sessions will span across all resources and attract utilities of all sizes. The topics within these breakouts will focus on everything from enhancing customer safety, leveraging distributed intelligence and optimizing networks to improving demand response programs, minimizing cybersecurity threats and migrating from one collection system to another.

Visit www.itron.com/iuw to learn more about this one-of-a-kind event.

Stay tuned for additional blogs throughout the next few weeks as we prepare to kick off IUW 2019!


Big Thinking Abounds in Idaho

This past weekend, I took part in the Think Big Festival located in Coeur D' Alene (CDA), Idaho – just a short drive away from Itron’s headquarters in Liberty Lake, Washington. When I first received the invite to the event, I wasn't sure what to expect, since “think big” sort of seemed to fall into the category of using smart as an adjective—overused while underdelivering.

Upon arrival at the block party, hosted on the downtown streets of CDA, my excitement grew as I found signs of real big thinking. The first thing I saw was a large robot that could be used for surgery, and it was actually usable - not just a concept. Beside the surgery robot were both young kids and adults lined up to try the advanced technology by connecting tiny tentacles with rubber bands. As I continued down the street, the whir of small drones and robots filled my ears. The following day was full of different discussions, some in the form of a forum and others one-on-one. Itron Idea Labs’ own Roberto Aiello was on stage discussing the future of smart cities with attendees from a variety of fields, ranging from solar roadways to nuclear microreactors. An interesting startup was looking at the use of a fixed-wing drone as a responder to provide information to first responders.

The festival was inspiring in its ability to really think big with talks focusing on products that can help prevent concussions in football players, virtual environments for doctors to digitally see in real time the changes they are making in surgery, and neurotech looking to enhance physical performance with the use of electricity instead of medicine. Beyond products, I witnessed conversations about life impacting topics such as the improvement of teaching with current and future technology and the place of technology in the medical field.

One of the discussions that I found personally appealing was the discussion of possible culture shifts due to technology. In the same way the internet and smart phone changed our world, there is always more coming. In this panel, they discussed the future of AR and VR. A CDA local that has joined Niantic, the makers of Pokémon Go among other things, had a lot to say about where he saw the technology going in the future, while also connecting that to where we are now.

The festival was nothing short of inspirational and really opened my eyes to what thinking big really means. So often we get stuck in our own worlds and spheres of influence, and seldom take the opportunity to peer out. My eyes were opened to the fact that smart cities are not purely the physical technology we can install in them, but a new way of thinking in how we use our city.

Roberto said it best when he explained that one of the biggest smart city applications, Google Maps, had very little to do with the integration into the city and far more to do with smart integration of the people of that city. New things abound, and forever will – so remember to think big!


Ensuring Safety and Preventing Theft with Itron Revenue Assurance

When you hear the word “theft,” you likely picture people in ski masks carrying electronics, jewelry and piles of cash out of a home, but you probably don’t imagine your neighbor tampering with natural gas,  water and electricity meters to steal resources. Utilities around the globe face the adverse impacts of energy and water theft, which results in unsafe conditions, higher rates for customers and lost revenue.

Offenders continue to become more sophisticated, diverting
more energy and water than ever and creating public safety concerns by
tampering with utility infrastructure. To identify, monitor and manage
potential losses, many utilities are turning to Itron Revenue Assurance to
address theft.

Itron Revenue Assurance uses more than 100 advanced algorithms
based on more than 10 years of field results to facilitate accurate
identification and detection. Currently, more than 30 utilities are taking
advantage of this solution to monitor more than 35 million meters to detect
suspicious usage patterns and ensure safety. Itron Revenue Assurance pinpoints issues
immediately and accurately allowing the utility to quickly resolve the instance
before it becomes an issue.

Diversion of energy and water is a mounting concern for
utilities. Meter tampering leads to financial impacts for utilities and
ratepayers, creates potential fire hazards, risks the safety of utility
employees and the public, and can compromise the distribution system. Learn how
Itron’s industry-leading analytics tools mitigate these concerns here.


Innovation and the Inception of Itron Idea Labs

Nine out of
10 Fortune 500 companies in 1955 disappeared from the list by 2016. The
average tenure of a Fortune 500 company decreased from 33 years in 1965 to
18 years in 2012—and it’s forecasted to shrink to 14 years by 2026. The
accelerating rate of technology development and disruptive innovation are the
key drivers of this trend.

Itron has always been an
innovator in the utility industry, but I saw an opportunity for disruptive
innovation. In 2014, I thought it was time to introduce a new approach, which
we now call Itron Idea Labs.

Read the full story about how I formed Idea Labs to embrace industry-leading, disruptive innovation in my new book Innovation for Survival. In the book, I explain the successes and failures of projects at Idea labs and the importance of disruptive innovation to deliver breakthrough products to customers.

I’ve worked with a variety of
leading technology companies including Google, Edico Genome, Walt Disney and
Paul Allen’s innovation incubator, Interval Research. These experiences helped
me understand the benefits of an entrepreneurial approach to innovation.

In the book, I explain how Idea
Labs was able to replicate startup methodologies within an established company.
I present the strategy
that we developed at Itron Idea Labs through lessons learned from both failures
and successes. The book describes our process of pitching an idea, developing
products and finding the right way to structure a team of innovators. The book
is not only a story about a successful experiment, it is also a guide for how
to pursue disruptive innovation and fail fast.

The purpose of this book
is to provide a practical guide to building an innovation lab in a large
corporation. We all learned a lot and I believe we cracked the nut of how to
build a successful innovation lab in a large corporation. This story is not
finished, as we continue pushing forward to get into even more exciting times.

If you are interested in the journey of innovation, purchase Innovation for Survival on Amazon today.


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