Baku, Azerbaijan --- (METERING.COM) --- December 20, 2007 - An agreement has been concluded between Azeri Gas and Electricity Metering (AGEM) and Actaris to deliver 100,000 integrated smart card prepayment electricity meters and the TaleXus® Vendor revenue collection system for installation in two areas of Azerbaijan.

Additionally, Actaris, through its partner Gulf Axxess, is deploying a prepayment solution for 65,000 gas meters in the city of Ganga. The gas prepayment solution has been in pilot with Azeri Gas since 2006.

Prepayment solutions have become a focus for Azerbaijan, because of their efficacy in improving revenue collection. A number of pilot programs for prepayment solutions are already in place in a number of cities, with further long-term integration planned throughout the country.  

“These systems will make a significant impact on revenue collection,” said Fuad Talibov, general manager of AGEM, adding that this new project is an important step forward in terms of developing Azerbaijan's energy infrastructure.

Actaris smart card technology offers an efficient and cost-effective method for secure revenue collection via full “two-way” prepayment – using a smart card to carry credit to the meter and meter readings back to the utility. In this project, which will be a “first” in Azerbaijan, existing bank “smart cards” of participating consumers – which can be used by consumers for a variety of purposes, including transportation – will be adapted so that they can also be used to credit their electricity meters. Deployment is expected to begin in March 2008.

“Actaris is very excited to be a part of a growing business in Azerbaijan,” said Malcolm Unsworth, senior vice-president, Itron and COO, Actaris.