CenterPoint Energy and IBM have announced a limited deployment of broadband over powerline (BPL) technology for the sole purpose of improving internal utility applications. Raymond Blair, vice president of BPL initiatives for IBM Energy and Utility Industry, reports that about 50 US utilities are currently testing BPL programmes, but says this will be the first time testing will be focused solely on utility applications – specifically meter reading, connections and outage management.

The utility will fit the meters of 44,500 Houston, Texas electricity customers with a transmitter that will send information to receivers on utility poles hooked into the BPL network. The test will use equipment supplied by Corinex.