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.

Analytics and Customer Portals Shine at CS Week 2018

At CS Week 2018 in Tampa, Florida, Itron hit the show floor and showcased our expanded portfolio, bringing to the forefront the best of our smart grid and smart networks capabilities with advanced analytics and applications.

Buzz at this year’s event focused around customer engagement portals and value-added solutions—such as analytics—that help customers get the most out of their data. The Itron team came prepared with the Itron Mobile solution, meter data management, and analytics front and center—in addition to the OpenWay Operations Center and our customer engagement portal—helping showcase how we’re working to help utility operations make the most of what they have while reinventing the experience for end customers.

One exciting aspect at this year’s show was customer Otter Tail Power Company (OTPCo) receiving the Expanding Excellence Award for best analytics project. This award is for their work with Itron to monitor for service interruptions and improve outage detection. Utilizing Itron’s smart grid technology, analytics and managed services, OTPCo is improving outage response—and the company received this recognition for improving grid reliability and restoration efforts for its more than 130,000 customers.

In addition, Las Vegas Valley Water District’s (LVVWD) Chad Moore presented on “Improving Accuracy and Reducing Costs with Drive-by Data”. In his talk, he specifically mentioned Itron’s water analytics. LVVWD is using the Customer Service Representative portal to identify water usage and help identify leaks, as well as utilizing generated reports to assist with customer questions. In addition, hourly consumption data from the meters helps LVVWD during meter maintenance, and the utility can use hourly data to identify trends at the meter level.

Overall, the team was able to interact and meet with key customers while continuing to showcase our now expanded portfolio—and reinforce our resolve to transform the customer experience while providing solutions that are easy to implement.

CS Week: Transforming the Customer Experience

In 2017, Itron acquired not one, but two companies. First Comverge—a leading distributed energy management company—and then Silver Spring Networks—a leading provider of IoT networking, distribution automation and analytic solutions. While it made for a busy year, the vision for these acquisitions was simple: We wanted to continue to transform the customer experience while providing solutions that are easy to implement. With Itron’s leading technology and these two additions, we knew we’d be making a move in the right direction and we will continue to search for future opportunities to accelerate our progress.

At next week’s CS Week in Tampa, Florida, we’ll be showcasing our expanded portfolio, bringing to the forefront the best of our smart grid and smart networks capabilities with advanced analytics and applications.

Showcasing Itron’s OpenWay® Riva IoT solution, Itron Mobile solution, meter data management, analytics, OpenWay Operations Center and our customer engagement portal, we’re working to help utility operations make the most of what they have while reinventing the experience for end customers. Show-goers will have the opportunity to register for demonstrations, view interactive use cases, hear customer testimonials and check out Itron’s latest and greatest.

We’ve got a lot of positive momentum and much to be excited about as we enter this first big show of the spring season.

If you’re at CS Week, be sure to stop by booth #937 to learn more, meet the team and check out our expanded portfolio.

Big Picture Session: Protecting Utilities from the Risk of New Technologies with Outcome-Based Solutions

It’s day two of our Knowledge Conference at IUW, and this morning, we heard from two great speakers during our general session. Robert Swan, Order of the British Empire (OBE), discussed his experience as a polar explorer and how the lessons he learned exploring apply to management and business practices. Additionally, Janet Schijns, Verizon vice president of global channels, discussed the importance of leadership and mentoring in the utility industry.

Following the general session, we hosted the second Big Picture Session of the conference, “Protecting Utilities from the Risk of New Technologies with Outcome-Based Solutions.” The session was moderated by Michael Wiebe, president, MW Consulting. Our panel of experts represented electric, gas and water utilities and included:

  • Sasha Weintraub, senior vice president of market solutions, Duke Energy
  • Jeff Myerson, senior director, technical solutions, technology operations, CenterPoint Energy
  • Darron Poulsen, wastewater operations director, City of Pomona
  • Matt Comte, managing director, utilities, Accenture

Jeff Myerson noted that CenterPoint Energy is currently choosing to invest in outcome-based solutions. He noted, “It does make financial sense for us because an outcome-based solution can be more cost-effective. It is critically important that our investments don’t become obsolete in short amounts of time because we need them to last 20 years.”

The panelists offered differing perspectives, stemming from gas, water and electricity backgrounds. One notion that the panel agreed on is that analytics is an area for opportunity and provides a great space for collaboration. Since all companies are currently dealing with similar challenges, such as distributed energy resources, managing resources and analytics is becoming a more complicated issue. The methods used to extract information out of data and turn it into useful information for customers is seen as an outcome-based solution, delivering results instead of just technology to utilities.

Additionally, the panelists discussed the evolving practice of customer interaction, noting that there is now an expectation to give each customer a personal experience since they all desire to be communicated with in different ways. Myerson highlighted, “We compete with a lot of other companies, including Amazon and Chase Bank, who establish expectations for our customers. They view us in the same way as their other providers and want to be treated similarly.” Because of this, CenterPoint Energy has been investing in a preference center, allowing their customers to choose how they would like to receive information. As a result, the program has been successful for customers.

Darron Poulsen from the City of Paloma discussed the current state of the water industry, highlighting that it has recently become much more important to provide information to help customers with their usage. He noted, “I always enjoy coming to this conference because the water sector always seems to move slower, so it’s really great to come here and learn what these other guys are doing. However, the electricity and gas utilities always seemed to be 10-15 years ahead of us, but this time frame is now shortening for us.”

With the dramatic increase in innovative technologies, including the rapid adoption of smart phones and digital services, technology costs are coming down (as seen with solar panel costs). In turn, this is requiring utilities to move and adopt. With the growing need for faster responses and services, utilities now have an incentive to be efficient and need real-time analytics for customers to be able to drive down costs. As Matt Comte of Accenture pointed out, “We need to become more efficient because our customers expect more outcomes.”

A huge thank you to all of our panelists for such an engaging and interesting discussion!

We’ll have two more blogs for you to enjoy this afternoon. Up next: we’ll hear from Roberto Aiello from Itron Idea Labs as he discusses the Itron Riva Developers Community.





IUW15 Knowledge Center – Spotlight on Itron Total Services and Solar Monitoring Solution

This afternoon we spoke with Itron’s Bryan Seal and Jeff Simmelink in the Knowledge Center to learn more about Itron® Total Services and our solar monitoring solution. Itron Total Services launched last year and is a fully managed solution including metering, communication, data management and analytics and managed services, which is provided to customers in a simplified subscription-based solution. With the unique offering, Itron manages a utility’s day-to-day operations, allowing them to focus on other areas of their business, while providing a faster time-to-value from smart deployments. The offering also provides customers with the ability to select which analytics and information they receive as they need it to solve their business needs faster.

Recently, Itron expanded Itron Total Services to include solar monitoring as a comprehensive service. The complete offering combines production measurement, asset monitoring, sensing applications and forecasting in a managed services offering for solar photovoltaic (PV) generation. Solar energy is continuing to grow with a new solar photovoltaic installation occurring approximately every three minutes in the U.S. To that end, our solar monitoring solution helps customers address the operational challenges that arise from the rapid adoption of solar technology.

Itron’s managed services offerings greatly benefit utilities and third-party solar providers by helping manage their operations and allowing them to focus on data-driven business value.

Solar Booth

Itron Selects Microsoft Azure as Preferred Cloud Platform

Itron recently announced that it intends to use Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform for Itron Analytics. The cloud computing and infrastructure platform will provide a secure, reliable and cost-effective option for hosting Itron Analytics, Itron’s analytic application that harnesses the value of the data generated by utility smart grid and smart distribution investments.

With Microsoft Azure, Itron will have access to highly-available, scalable and durable cloud storage, backup and recovery capabilities. Microsoft Azure maintains the infrastructure and performs routine maintenance, patching, load balancing and health monitoring for continuous availability. This will allow Itron and its customers to focus on running Itron Analytics rather than upgrading and maintaining hardware. Itron Analytics can either be installed locally, run by the utility in the cloud environment or operated and managed by Itron as a part of its Itron® Total Services.

“With Microsoft Azure, Itron can provide even better and faster service to our customers, accelerating the deployment of Itron Analytics while reducing costs,” said Jeff Carkhuff, vice president of global product management for electricity at Itron. “We look forward to benefiting from the expertise of our partner and a world leader in cloud services as we work with our customers to better manage energy and water resources.”

“Microsoft is pleased to expand our strategic partnership with Itron as it utilizes Microsoft Azure to better serve its customers,” said Jon Arnold, managing director, worldwide utilities industry at Microsoft. “By selecting Microsoft Azure as Itron’s platform for cloud analytics, customers will gain access to massive computing power across a global network of datacenters to run the most complex analytics that utilities need on a secure, scalable and cost-effective platform that will provide greater value and increased efficiency to Itron and its customers.”

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