Malcolm UnsworthHouston, TX, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- November 3, 2006 – CenterPoint Energy, energy provider to more than three million electric and natural gas customers in the Houston area, will deploy OpenWay™, an advanced metering and communication technology by Itron, to support CenterPoint Energy’s intelligent grid technology. This technology was deployed on a limited basis earlier this year.

CenterPoint Energy’s deployment of OpenWay technology begins this month with the installation of 10,000 new OpenWay CENTRON® solid-state electricity meters that will be installed in selected areas of Houston. CenterPoint Energy is working with Itron and IBM on five core applications – meter reading, remote connections and disconnections, outage detection, load management and voltage threshold monitoring.

“The use of Itron's OpenWay system at this phase of the limited deployment will allow us to test automated meter reading operations and more advanced capabilities such as remote connection and disconnection of service, real-time outage management and some load control,” said Don Cortez, division vice president of regulated operations support for CenterPoint Energy.

“OpenWay is designed to provide our utility customers with a highly flexible solution to address the broad spectrum of technology requirements and business objectives for AMI and demand response outlined in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and similar smart metering initiatives in such markets as Ontario and California,” said Malcolm Unsworth, senior vice president of Itron’s Hardware Solutions group. “As communications technologies continue to evolve, we believe it is vitally important to provide our customers with an open-standards-based solution that can readily adapt to changing business conditions and communications technologies.”

OpenWay by Itron utilizes an open-protocol, standards-based architecture (C12.22), enabling utilities to select communications technologies system components best suited to their needs based on cost, availability and other considerations. Those options include radio frequency (RF), powerline carrier (PLC), broadband over powerline (BPL), as well as other public, private, wired and wireless IP-based communication networks operating standalone or in combination.

OpenWay by Itron is also designed to meet the objectives of AMI business cases requirements, including two-way communications to each meter; scalability to greater than 10 million meters; multiple-channel interval data collection; on-demand reads; demand reset; a remote load-limiting disconnect/reconnect switch; critical peak pricing and time-of-use rate updates; net metering for on-site generation; advanced outage detection and restoration notification; tamper and theft detection and remote device configuration and firmware updates. The system also provides local connectivity to gas and water meters, as well as in-home devices via a Zigbee™ radio that comes standard in all OpenWay CENTRON electricity meters.