Elster Group, the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of metering and utilisation solutions to the gas, electricity and water industries, has today launched a smart metering solution that will help address the issues of climate change and energy costs.

A new business unit, Elster Integrated Solutions (EIS) based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, will drive global programmes to help utilities worldwide adopt the very latest smart metering systems. Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) are designed specifically for gas, electricity and water utility customers. These smart meters can help with some of the most pressing current environmental issues.

"As a world leader in metering, Elster delivers advanced metering solutions to gas, electricity and water utilities that enable meters to be read remotely over smart wireless and fixed networks," said Elster Group CEO, Thomas Ganswindt. "These meters enable providers to check on an end-user's usage more frequently, in turn facilitating more frequent tariff changes including demand-responsive tariffs which enable prices to follow demand.
Smart meters can send warnings to the consumer to turn on or turn off appliances. The end result is energy and resource savings. Highly accurate and fair billing will show the real use of energy and scarce resources by consumers."

Research (see Berg Insight M2M Research Series 2006) shows that shortening the link between consumption and billing makes residential and industrial consumers more price-responsive and therefore more economical with their energy usage. The Berg Insight research also shows that there is a huge market for this type of technology. Some European countries are already using smart meters, especially in Italy and in some Scandinavian countries.

"Metering is a fundamental business enabler for utility companies. In Europe alone there are approximately 244 million electricity meters and 101 million gas meters," continues Ganswindt. "The liberalisation of energy markets requires that the utility meters of tomorrow be connected to data communication networks.  Elster's investment in technology and people will help reduce operating costs, drive additional revenue streams for our customers and further improve the quality of energy usage for consumers.
When installed, Elster smart meters will also help improve our environment."

President of Elster Integrated Solutions is industry veteran Sharon Allan.
Allan joined Elster in 1997 from IBM and most recently was chief knowledge officer of Elster Electricity. In 2002, she was named one of the '50 Key Women in Energy' for her global leadership in the area of innovation and creativity within the industry.

"We deliver and integrate metering automation solutions for our customers so that they can better manage their business in the area of gas, electricity, and water usage as well as facilitate new end-customer programmes," said Allan.  "Whether it is AMR or AMI, we enable business and customer management from the metering information. Core to our solution is the use of intelligent mobile and fixed network communications."

With a turnover in 2005 of over Euro 1.3 billion, the Elster Group is the largest metering company in the world. A trailblazer in terms of quality and innovation, the Group continues to invest in the latest metering and communications technology.

Mark Munday, president and CEO of Elster Electricity, has been appointed executive vice president of the combined Elster electricity and water businesses in North America. Mark has over 26 years of experience in the industry, and for the last 6 years has headed the Elster Electricity business unit in Raleigh.

"The launch of Elster Integrated Solutions will help drive our North American business forward, providing our customers with the information they need to shape strategic decisions about efficient energy use," said Munday.
"Our expertise and heritage in the metering market are combined in the EIS business to accelerate the delivery of actionable intelligence to the 62,000 utilities that we work with across the region."
Thomas Ganswindt concludes, "As well as the clear opportunity that Elster Integrated Solutions delivers in North America, it is a strategic first step for our global offering."

About Elster Group
Elster Group (formerly Ruhrgas Industries), is the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of highly accurate, high quality, integrated metering and utilisation solutions to the gas, electricity and water industries. In addition, through its subsidiary Ipsen International, it is the leading global manufacturer of high level thermo-chemical treatment equipment.

The group has over 9,000 staff and operations in 37 countries, focused in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Elster's high quality products and systems reflect the wealth of knowledge and experience gained from over 170 years of dedication measuring precious resources and energy. The Elster Group is headquartered in Luxembourg.

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For further information contact:
Nick Chaloner, Elster Group: + 44 7920 597 497, nick.chaloner@elster.com

Elster Group