Welcome to Itron Utility Week 2017! We launched our annual customer-focused event yesterday and welcomed more than 1,000 attendees to Houston. We’re excited to be here, and following Hurricane Harvey, we’re eager to do a small part to help give back to the community.

Yesterday, we partnered with the American Red Cross and assembled 2,500 comfort kits to provide displaced residents with basic necessities like toothbrushes and toiletries. Thank you to all our Itron team members and conference attendees that helped assemble the kits.

This morning, we commenced the Knowledge Conference portion of Itron Utility Week with keynotes by Scott Prochazka, president and CEO of CenterPoint Energy as well as Itron’s CEO Philip Mezey.

#IUW17 is taking place in CenterPoint Energy’s service territory, so Scott Prochazka provided us with an overview of the company’s vision for the future and how they’re delivering service, value and safety to their customers. CenterPoint Energy has a long history dating back to 1866, delivering value for customers for over 100 years. They’ve had smart meters deployed since 2009 and the utility currently analyzes 230 million data points from the meters per day. This level of data analytics has allowed the utility to realize multiple benefits – most recently they were able to avoid 45 million outage minutes during Hurricane Harvey. As the utility looks to the future, Scott took us through their four focus areas:

  • Customers – Focusing on their needs and delivering greater value to customers. CenterPoint Energy realizes that customers want to interact with on their terms, whether through a call center, social media or a website.
  • Technology Development – Technology is currently disrupting the utility industry and CenterPoint Energy understands it’s important to embrace new technologies at the utility level as well as at the customer (end-use) level.
  • Integrated Networks – Integrated networks can help with more efficient and smarter energy delivery.
  • Data Analytics – More advanced data analytics can enable real-time information, automation, security and reliance, as well as customer empowerment.

Scott closed his presentation noting that utilities need to not only manage the dynamic utility landscape, but lead.

The second speaker of the session, was Itron’s own Philip Mezey. Philip started his speech, by informing customers that Itron is working to be a preferred vendor and provide the best solutions. Through strategic acquisitions such as Comverge and our intent to acquire Silver Spring Networks, Itron is providing a unified platform through OpenWay™ Riva, cloud services and dedication to delivering business outcomes.

During his speech, Philip noted several challenges the utility industry is facing – including an aging workforce and infrastructure as well as transmission and distribution losses – and the path to helping utilities navigate these challenges. Key items for utilities include improving business efficiency, increasing grid reliability and resiliency, integrating distributed energy resources, and meeting greater customer expectations. Philip stated that utilities that adapt to change will run their business efficiently and enhance customer service. Itron believes that the next-generation grid – the Active Grid – can serve as a foundation to address utility’s business needs.

To close the session, Sharelynn Moore, Itron’s senior vice president of networked solutions, gave an update on what the Itron team has been working on over the last year. We’ve been investing this past year and notably, we created a new Networked Solutions and Smart Cities group that has over 80 dedicated employees. We’ve also spent more than $160 million on R&D and have increased our partner network to more than 80 strategic partners including Microsoft, SAP, Verizon and more. On the OpenWay Riva front, Sharelynn noted that we’ve deployed more than 20 million end points, with another 5.5 committed, which have provided more than $26 million in energy bill savings through smart city initiatives.

Additionally, this morning we awarded our Frost and Sullivan Resourcefulness Awards to Central Hudson for energy and Madison Water Utility for water. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

Our next blog will feature Joe Thomas from Duke Energy discussing how the company utilizes data to create unique and satisfying customer experiences. Stay tuned here and on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates from #IUW17.

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The Itron Team