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Itron Inc. has announced that Denver Water, the largest municipal utility in the state of Colorado, has signed a contract to implement Itron automatic meter reading (AMR) technology for 220,000 residential and commercial meters in the Denver metropolitan area. The company is a leading provider of products used for collecting, communicating, and analyzing electric, gas and water usage data.
Denver Water provides drinking water services to more than 1 million people in Denver and its surrounding suburbs, and this project represents the largest AMR water project in the western United States. Itron was selected as the sole source AMR technology provider for Denver Water's installation through Itron's distributor, Mountain States Pipe and Supply Company.
Operational cost savings, improved customer service and preparation for the future were the key drivers in Denver Water's decision to deploy Itron AMR technology, said Charlie Jordan, director of public affairs for Denver Water.
"We anticipate that Itron's AMR technology will deliver significant operational cost savings over the next decade and beyond, enable Denver Water to deliver superior service to our growing customer base, and help us keep water rates as low as possible," said Jordan. "The Itron system will also enable us to eventually transition to monthly billing, which will spare our customers the budgetary drain of larger, bi-monthly water bills."
Denver Water's AMR system will consist of Itron AMR meter modules installed on all of the utility's water meters. The data will be collected using Itron's Mobile AMR technology. Denver Water will also test Itron's MicroNetwork(TM) system for potential use in hard-to-access residential areas and commercial corridors.
Installation of the system will begin in June and will be completed over a five-year period. This timeline will enable Denver Water to gradually trim its meter reading staff from a current level of 35 full-time meter readers to two through attrition and reassignment, Jordan said.
The project marks the second major installation of Itron's water AMR meter modules designed for the harsh "pit-set" meter environment. Situated in difficult-to-access, below-ground pits or vaults, pit-set water meters represent a continual meter reading challenge to water utilities, especially those in the west, where pit-set water meters are the norm. About 80 percent of Denver Water's meters are located in pits; the remainder are located indoors in customer basements.
"Beyond the operational costs savings and customer service improvements it will achieve with AMR technology, Denver Water also wanted flexibility and choice in its metering decisions," said Andrew Alpert, vice president and general manger of Itron's Water and Public Power Business Unit. "With Itron's open-architecture AMR solutions and industry-leading meter compatibility, Denver Water has the freedom to choose its meter suppliers based on performance, price and objectives, rather than on AMR system compatibility."