Paris, France --- (METERING.COM) --- July 18, 2008 – ERDF, a subsidiary of EDF and the largest electricity distribution network in the European Union, has launched a major transformation program that will see the replacement of 35 million electricity meters in France, beginning with a pilot trial of 300,000 meters.

ERDF has selected Atos Origin, an international information technology company, as architect for the information system and lead manager of the consortium of technology firms that will conduct the pilot phase. Landis+Gyr will manufacture half of the data concentrators and one third of the metering devices. The pilot installation will determine the shape of the second phase, expected to be the world's largest smart metering project covering the deployment of 35 million meters.

The consortium has been selected in a public tender process for a pilot project encompassing 300,000 power line communication (PLC) meters and 7,000 concentrators in France. The project roll-out is expected to start early in 2010.

The advanced meter management (AMM) solution provided by the consortium enables a two-way flow of data required to manage energy use, efficiency, demand response and network protection. The communication is not limited to data but also includes information about consumption, tariffs, alerts and complimentary services.

By deploying this smart metering solution ERDF, an infrastructure investment fund allocated by the European Union, is advancing changes in European regulation governing the electricity distribution sector. ERDF has defined the scalability of the system, the use of open communication protocols, the interoperability of components and systems and the expected reduction of operating costs to justify the return on investment, as key objectives and selection criteria for the pilot project.

Currently, Landis+Gyr is the only company in the winning consortium that assembles residential meters for Electricité de France (EDF), the main electricity generation and distribution company in France. As a result of a long-term partnership, Landis+Gyr has delivered a variety of electricity meters both with and without communication to EDF over the years. Currently, more than 10,000 of EDF's industrial and commercial meters have been equipped with Landis+Gyr's PLC technology.

Atos Origin has an impressive track record in managing and upgrading highly critical real-time systems over several decades of service. The company’s partnership with EDF since 1978 for France’s nuclear power program is emblematic of this approach. The new AMM project is intended to serve as a catalyst for innovation and drive the transformation to the future smart grid model. For this reason, the ability to guarantee long-term performance and future upgrades over a multi-decade timeframe is essential.

The PLC protocol enables metering hardware interoperability and sourcing of equipment from different vendors. Atos Origin research teams have created a PLC Certification Laboratory, the only resource of its kind in the market. The lab will test the compatibility of all new equipment. By encouraging complete transparency, this innovative PLC technology will become a de facto standard.