Portland, OR, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- July 17, 2008 – NW Natural Gas has signed an agreement with Itron Inc. to automate an additional 375,000 natural gas meters using Itron’s mobile automated meter reading (AMR) technology. NW Natural began its AMR program in 2006 and has already automated more than 260,000 meters in its territory using Itron technology.

“The technology has proven itself,” said Kay Steele, NW Natural Gas mobile AMR project manager. “We are truly pleased with the success of the initial deployment and consider the additional installation a natural progression.”

NW Natural considered a number of technologies before choosing an Itron system. Cost reductions and operational efficiencies were the primary drivers for automating its more rural territories first. NW Natural had a joint meter reading arrangement with the electric utility in Portland and delayed upgrading the area to mobile AMR until the arrangement was completed.

“We met our business case objectives with Itron’s mobile AMR technology and are excited about bringing the benefits to the remainder of our customer base,” said Steele. “Itron has been a great partner in this project and we look forward to deploying their newest generation of higher powered gas module, the 100G, during the next phase.”

Part of the Itron ChoiceConnect™ suite of data collection systems, the 100G Gas ERT® module provides a seamless pathway from mobile to fixed network AMR. In the future this allows NW Natural to seek the benefits of more frequent collection of metering data if desired.

“Itron’s ChoiceConnect system provides NW Natural with flexibility for future requirements while delivering solid benefits today,” said Mike Zimmer, Itron vice president of western region sales. “NW Natural’s decision to expand its mobile AMR deployment is a validation that they chose the right technology and the right deployment strategy. We value our ongoing relationship with NW Natural and look forward to working with them on this phase of their automation strategy.”