Public Utilities Fortnightly Recognizes Itron Among Top Innovators in 2019

This November, Public Utilities Fortnightly released its Top Innovators 2019, and recognized the collaboration between Itron, New Cosmos and Con Edison as one of the top innovations of 2019. This year’s Top Innovators recognized nearly 140 innovators from 46 qualifying nominations.

Itron, New Cosmos and Con Edison collaborated to develop and deploy nine thousand battery-powered smart natural gas detectors in New York. The smart devices were developed by New Cosmos with Itron’s Milli™ 5 battery-optimized communications module and operate on Con Edison’s Industrial IoT network from Itron.

Operating on Itron’s secure, standards-based network, the natural gas detector sounds an audible alarm if it detects natural gas in the atmosphere where the device is installed to alert anyone nearby. In the case of a leak, the device will also immediately communicate with the utility, which will respond with a crew(s) and notify the local fire department so they can respond and investigate. The alarm, which includes a voice recording that advises building occupants to evacuate, will continue to sound until the utility silences the unit. Learn more about the deployment in this video.

Itron is honored to be a part of this innovative collaboration with New Cosmos and Con Edison.


Enabling the Active Network for Natural Gas

Continuing our blog series on natural gas safety, in this blog we will discuss the role of the Active Network in improving the delivery of gas. Aging infrastructure, natural disasters, leaks and tampering can create costly incidents for natural gas utilities, consumers and first responders. With these challenges to natural gas delivery, it is important for utilities to establish visibility, control and awareness. With smart gas meters, like the Intelis gas meter, operating on an open network, gas utilities can proactively address challenges and improve operational efficiency.

A connected network of smart devices is called the Active Network, which is characterized by intelligent devices with computing power working together to respond in real time. The Active Network harnesses the power of IoT to improve safety, reliability and profitability for gas utilities and consumers.

Intelligent devices like the Intelis gas meter are a crucial building block for the Active Network because they enable interactive communication for gas utilities. With built-in edge computing, the meter has integrated safety and control capabilities that give utilities access to high-resolution data in the field and near real-time and post-processing analytics. Harnessing this innovative technology, gas utilities can identify vulnerabilities in the system and respond in real time to ensure safe, efficient delivery of natural gas to their customers.

With the Active Network, utilities have increased awareness of their gas distribution system, which equips them to enhance their operations. Utilities can carefully monitor all conditions in the network, recognizing even the smallest irregularities in the network, such as meter removal. The Intelis gas meter is equipped with air detection alerts, which send an alarm to the utility operations center in the case of a potential meter removal. With this connected network of smart meters, utilities can also remotely shut service for move-outs and line maintenance to ensure safety and revenue protection.

The modern natural gas utility network must be active, responding to problems in real time and delivering detailed analysis of threats to the network before incidents occur. With Itron’s IIoT network and smart meters, natural gas utilities can not only measure, but communicate to solve problems in the distribution network in real time.

Learn more about Itron’s Active Network solutions and see a demo of the Intelis Gas Meter at the 2019 AGA Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee by visiting us at booth 1011, and be sure to visit the Itron blog on April 29 for the next blog in our series. Also, if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our first blog on Ensuring Safety in Natural Gas Delivery Amid Natural Disasters.


Ensuring Safety in Natural Gas Delivery Amid Natural Disasters

For cities and utilities, it can be challenging to ensure the safety of citizens especially when natural disasters occur. Incidents such as hurricanes, floods, fires and gas leaks are unpredictable and often impossible to prevent. In advance of the AGA Operations Conference and Biennial Exhibition, we will discuss how Itron’s technology is enabling the safe, reliable and efficient delivery of natural gas in a series of blog posts.

In this first blog, we are focusing on how natural gas utilities can deliver safety to their customers amid natural disasters. To ensure that natural gas utilities are equipped to proactively provide a safe response to these events, Itron developed the award-winning Intelis gas meter, which is creating a safer world through connected metrology on the Active Network.

In areas with large numbers of people, it is vital for utilities to be able to monitor potential hazards to keep customers safe. With a built-in high flow alarm and temperature sensor, Itron’s smart gas meter can quickly recognize an open fuel line, heat or unusual flow conditions. In the case of a fire or open fuel line, the meter will detect the potentially dangerous situation and send an alert to the utility.

To provide greater safety for utility workers and first responders, the Intelis gas meter also has an integrated safety shutoff valve, which will virtually stop the flow of natural gas in the instance of an open fuel line or fire. Utility workers are usually the first to arrive on the scene when a leak or unusual situation is detected in the gas network, so it is vital to ensure their safety. With remote safety shut-off, the utility can prevent hazardous conditions for workers.

In addition to workforce protection, utilities can temporarily shutoff gas service ahead of natural disasters. Utilities can manage flow to impacted areas before flooding and other hazardous situations occur that may cause gas meters and appliances to become displaced and potentially cause free flowing gas at customer sites. With smart meters like Intelis, utilities are empowered to be proactive and enhance safety for citizens and their employees in new ways.

Utilities can proactively enhance safety with a network of connected smart meters like Intelis. See a demo at the 2019 AGA Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee by visiting us at booth 1011, and be sure to check the Itron blog on April 26 for the next blog in our series.


Bringing Safety to the Edge

Safety is always top of mind for gas utilities, and new technology advancements, like the OpenWay® Riva Intelis gas meter, make it possible to reduce safety incidents and the associated costly damage. At the end of June, Itron showcased our new gas meter at the World Gas Conference in Washington D.C., demonstrating how smart meters on an active network equip utilities to analyze near real-time data to protect consumers and the utility workforce.

Harnessing the power of the active network, Itron’s OpenWay Riva Intelis ultrasonic gas meter is equipped to respond quickly. The meter has been thoughtfully developed to enhance safety by controlling excess flow at all service points.

The meter features a built-in high flow alarm and a temperature sensor that identifies potentially dangerous conditions, such as open fuel lines or fire, and can automatically trigger a safety shutoff device to control the flow of gas. Air detection identifies meter removal, with the option to limit gas flow, while also sending an alarm to utility personnel, helping prevent incidents before they arise. Utilities can use the meter to temporarily shutoff service for situations such as non-payment, move-outs or line maintenance until a more permanent disconnect can be completed. The Intelis transforms the gas distribution network from a one-way gas delivery mechanism to an interactive energy network offering numerous benefits to utilities.

With safety and control integrated into smart gas meters, utilities have access to high-resolution data in the field. Leveraging edge computing, every device in the network is a computing and application platform. With this innovative technology, gas utilities can identify vulnerabilities in the system with connected response to changes in the network. For example, utilities can proactively control gas flow to homes before flooding and other dangerous situations occur; events that could cause gas meters and appliances to become displaced and potentially cause free flowing gas at customer sites.

With this approach, gas utilities can capitalize on the potential of connected devices, like the OpenWay Riva Intelis gas meter, that have the computing power to not only measure and communicate, but also solve problems on the network. These devices and sensors dynamically detect a gas leak, corrosion or low pressure and can notify the utility before they become a serious event – improving safety, reliability and profitability.

When it comes to delivering natural gas, safety is paramount. Advances in technology are giving utilities more visibility into their systems to prevent incidents before they happen. With the active network, utilities can help ensure the safety of their customers and their employees while also limiting waste and conserving natural gas.


Future Focus—Extending Value in the Gas Industry

Gas utilities around the world face a complex mix of new challenges. The emergence of new gas sources, rising customer expectations for information and service, an ongoing focus on identifying and eliminating non-revenue gas, a renewed need for improvements in operational efficiency—the list goes on. In the midst of these challenges comes the need to make infrastructure investments that are flexible enough to meet future requirements.

That’s where Advanced Metering Infrastructure comes in. Deployed effectively, an AMI network can help system operators better understand operational processes—eliminating redundancies and improving efficiencies as a result. In addition, the data collected across the system can add value, from identifying non-revenue gas to enhancing customer service. Emerging innovations as part of Itron’s AMI system include remote disconnect devices and a growing suite of products to assess field conditions such as methane detection, cathodic protection and pressure monitoring.

Moving forward the list of operational and safety benefits will continue to grow—and at Itron we are very excited about how these solutions will benefit our customers. I recently wrote an article on this topic appearing in American Gas. I invite you to read this article and share your comments.

This week our team will be at the American Gas Association Operations Conference in Pittsburgh. I personally invite you to join us at this event bringing together key players in the gas industry to make the future a reality.

Click here to view the full article appearing in American Gas.


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