September 21, 2010 - Panasonic Corporation has announced a partnership with Gaz reseau Distribution France (GrDF) to demonstrate automated meter reading (AMR) with 5,000 next-generation Gas Smart Meters in Saint-Genis-Laval and Pierre-Bénite from July 2010.

The companies completed the installation of communications equipment by June, 2010 and started this experiment, GrDF plans to measure and evaluate the performance of the facilities constructed, and survey the reactions and expectations of customers in regard to automated meter reading. GrDF started on its gas meter modernization project in order to respond to the demands of customers for invoicing that reflects the actual volume of energy consumed as much as possible without waiting for a visit by a gas inspector, and also against the backdrop of a new energy situation where the reduction of energy consumption, a guiding EU principle, is unavoidable.

In this demonstration experiment, Panasonic supplied meter interfaces, repeaters and concentrators to GrDF as the communications equipment to be deployed. The company has also installed meter interfaces on gas meters in residential houses and public facilities chosen by GrDF to send gas meter data automatically and test its performance.

The Information Devices Business Unit, a Panasonic's Gas Meter Device production division, started the manufacture and sale of gas equipment devices from 1983 (controllers, shut-off valves, seismic sensors, ultrasonic transducers, etc.). In 2009, the company achieved production of 100 million gas meter controller units and boasts a sales performance of 3 million AMR-related products.

In this field test, Panasonic will demonstrate the low power consumption technology realizing long-term maintenance free use and high-performance wireless communication technology that the company has cultivated to this point.