Itron formed a strategic alliance with Panasonic Corp. to develop a smart meter platform tailored to the Japanese market. The companies will use their combined global experience and local presence to offer a smart metering solution that will meet Japan's electric utilities' needs and requirements today and into the future.
As part of the agreement, Itron will design, develop and deliver an Itron smart meter with its 3G cellular communications to Panasonic. Because of the inherent flexibility of Itron's technology, the solution will support multiple communication options, including cellular, RF mesh and Power Line Carrier to meet specific business needs and geographies in Japan.
With this collaboration, Panasonic will expand its communications product line to the smart meter business, contributing to the realization of an ecological and smart-enabled society via home energy management systems.
In Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has mandated the adoption of smart meters over the next 10 years for nearly 80 million electric meters to help manage energy supply and demand. Smart meters are viewed as a key tool for gauging energy usage during peak hours so that utilities can offer special pricing programs to encourage reductions in energy consumption.
This is important as Japan works to implement multiple technology and power generation alternatives to compensate for the nearly 30 percent loss in nuclear power generation.