Press Release

DTE Energy, Comverge and Itron Lead the Way in Investigating the Impact of PEV Charging on the Smart Grid

Companies demonstrate ability to disable charging in response to load control events, pricing signals

LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. — November 18, 2009 — Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI), in conjunction with DTE Energy Co. (DTE), and Comverge Inc. (NASDAQ: COMV), today announced the ability of Itron’s OpenWay® smart grid technology to help the utility investigate the effect of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging on its operations. This collaboration will help extend the value of the smart grid by giving consumers a mechanism for participation.

The functionality was proven as part of a recent technical demonstration by DTE Energy as part of The Business of Plugging In: A Plug-In Electric Vehicle Conference held in Detroit. At the conference, the OpenWay system processed load control events issued from Comverge’s Web-based demand management software platform, Apollo™, to a PEV and disabled charging for the duration included in the message. OpenWay was also able to process pricing messages from Apollo. When pricing exceeded a designated threshold, the PEV ceased charging until the final price fell below threshold, upon which it resumed charging.

In order for consumers to understand their electricity usage and the impact of charging their PEV, a utility’s smart grid system must be able to track the total amount of electricity consumed in a billing period and precisely when that electricity was used. This time based tracking is referred to as interval data or load profiling and is a core capability of the OpenWay system.

“Since the future supply-demand balance requires addressing both sides of the equation, the smart grid must provide the mechanism for participation by consumers,” said Bill Cloutier, AMI manager for DTE Energy. “Working jointly with Itron and Comverge, we now have a more realistic picture of how PEVs may affect our grid. The goal is to test this new technology and share the information with our customers, providing them the opportunity to make more informed decisions about how and when they charge their PEVs and ultimately how they can use the information to lower their electric bill.”

The integration relies on the ZigBee® Smart Energy Profile, allowing for seamless communication between the utility and PEVs, without the need for a broadband connection. In this case, the PEV was equipped with charging controls that contain a ZigBee card to enable meter-to-car communication.

“This demonstration is another realization in the promise of Apollo software and its flexibility in accommodating future smart grid developments such as PEVs as they become part of our utility customers' portfolio of assets,” said Michael D. Picchi, Comverge interim president and chief executive officer. “Working together, we are moving closer toward making the smart grid vision a reality.”

The Business of Plugging In conference, which took place Oct. 19 – 21, was co-hosted by DTE Energy, General Motors and the University of Michigan. This first-ever conference brought together vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, energy companies, government agencies, schools and researchers to address the many opportunities and challenges involved in bringing PEVs to the mass market. The conference was made possible by a grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Itron is providing DTE Energy with OpenWay smart grid technology to automate a total of 2.6 million electric meters and 700,000 natural gas meters over the next six years.

“This full end-to-end functionality is just one aspect of the power of our OpenWay smart grid system,” said Philip Mezey, Itron North America senior vice president and chief operating officer. “With other market leaders such as DTE Energy and Comverge and their determination to stay on top of emerging trends and policies, the potential positive impact on consumers and the excitement for this advanced technology continues to grow.”

About Itron

Itron enables utilities and cities to safely, securely and reliably deliver critical infrastructure solutions to communities in more than 100 countries. Our portfolio of smart networks, software, services, meters and sensors helps our customers better manage electricity, gas and water resources for the people they serve. By working with our customers to ensure their success, we help improve the quality of life, ensure the safety and promote the well-being of millions of people around the globe. Itron is dedicated to creating a more resourceful world. Join us:

Itron® is a registered trademark of Itron, Inc. All third-party trademarks are property of their respective owners and any usage herein does not suggest or imply any relationship between Itron and the third party unless expressly stated.


Alison Mallahan

Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

(509) 891-3802


David Means

Director, Investor Relations

(737) 242-8448