- National Grid has selected tech and services company Itron to supply Advanced Metering Functionality to its customers in Massachusetts, a part of the state's broad plan to modernize its electric grid.
- The utility taped Itron’s OpenWay smart grid platform to meet the AMF objectives of its Grid Modernization Plan. Itron said its platform can provide access to near real-time data, outage and restoration notification, two-way communication and control capabilities.
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities must approve National Grid's recommendation, which it made as part of a decade-long grid modernization plan filed with regulators. The deal is also contingent on the two parties agreeing to a contract.
Massachusetts ratepayers have some of the highest electricity prices in the nation and face persistent threats from storms and frigid winters, leading the state's regulators to direct investor-owned utilities to file grid modernization plans that require 10-year strategies and five-year short-term infrastructure plans.
National Grid proposed four different scenarios, potentially costing up to $1 billion in a “balanced approach” that captures all of the grid modernization ideas set out by the DPU, including a push to install advanced metering in every home within five years.
Tapping Itron to supply those meters is the next step in the process, though it still hinges on regulatory approval.
Itron issued a statement saying following a successful pilot program in Worcester, Mass., National Grid’s proposal "could bring Itron’s smart grid technology to the rest of its 1.3 million customers in Massachusetts."
Itron would also design and implement a comprehensive communications network and cyber security infrastructure, to work alongside the utility's modernization plan.
"The multi-purpose network, if approved, will support multiple smart grid applications, including grid monitoring, Volt VAR optimization, advanced distribution automation, demand response, distributed generation, theft detection, smart metering and consumer programs," Itron said. "If approved, National Grid will be positioned to enhance the reliability and resiliency of electricity service in the face of increasingly extreme weather, and empower consumers with opportunities to better manage and reduce electricity costs."