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Itron, Inc. Message Board

  • rightofway2004 rightofway2004 Sep 12, 2011 11:23 PM Flag

    Nasbaum's problem

    He wants China but he won't be able to get it. Here is why (i) China is using powerline technology and Itron, to my knowledge, runs on Silver Springs technology and (ii) China is going with its own meter manufacturers which means they will look to buy components not the meter. With respect to components, again, Itron doesn't make the communication technology. It makes the box which uses other companies technologies. See Holly's latest announcement with Echelon. What can Holly buy from Itron?

    He wants South America, and he won't get it. The market for South America is leveying tariffs on the meter importers to the point they are not competitive. Components is the name of the game here also. Look at ELO's deal with Echelon.

    He wants India and he won't get it. India has a lot of theft on its system (40+% of electricity produced) so they will also likely go with powerline technology so they can detect theft better. In fact, Echelon was at a cabinet level meeting in India with former commerce secretary Gary Locke and following that meeting, Hillary Clinton went to China to tell them to work with Echelon. As a side, Mr Locke is now the US Ambassador to China.

    Nasbaum is about to learn that the world has changed a lot since he was last with the company. Smart grid is about a communication network and Itron uses someone else's technology. Their product, the meter, has been commoditized. If they want to get into the game they need to integrate Lonworks into their meters and fight it out across Europe where Echelon has captured up to 80% of the market share for advanced metering. If they wait much longer they will be the next Kodac. No wonder the employees, management, the board and shareholders are depressed.

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    • lonworkscharlie: you appear to speak before thinking -

      (lonworkscharlie): "You are a dip...ROI is the Gain from the investment minus the cost of the investment; divided by the cost of the investment."

      Let's check to see what I posted -

      (gpstracker): "ROI (return on investment) is basically the money generated, minus the original investment, divided by the original investment. ROI is not the money saved."

      Hmmm, it appears that you simply regurgitated exactly what I posted and then called ME a 'dip'. You then follow by saying, "Thus cost saving is a huge contributor of ROI"...which was not the point at all. The point was that your post gave absolutely no information that allowed one to determine ROI. Your post gave a savings in percent. It gave no dollar numbers for the amount of money saved, nor did it give the dollars invested. As such, it was useless in determining ROI. If you disagree, then simply use the information from your post to calculate the ROI. When you do so, I will apologize and anoint you king of ROI. If you cannot do so, then you verify that you were wrong.

      As to the rest of your post, do you typically use data from five years ago in order to make your point? Note this bit of information from your post, "According to the study, citing a 2006 interview with Master Meter’s Ron Koch, the majority of residential and commercial flow meters in the U.S. are from six manufacturers..."

      Hmmm, 2006 interview...nothing like having current data in order to make a point (or an investment.) Are you aware that Itron purchased Actaris in 2007 and in doing so became the largest meter company in the world. Here is a bit more information from the Q3-2010 Itron investor presentation -

      SMART METERS AND COMMUNICATIONS: Over 85 million shipped in North America ~ 46% market share

      LEADING GLOBAL METER SUPPLIER: #1 in combined market share for electricity, gas and water

      LEADING SOFTWARE SUPPLIER: ~ 35% of Meter Data Management systems around the world, #1 in market share

      So when you state, "800lb Gorilla, I doubt it"...maybe you are right. As the global leader, perhaps Itron is a 900 lb gorilla.

      By the way, I notice you bounce back and forth between the screen names 'twincity' and 'lonworkscharlie', are you having trouble keeping your identities straight?

    • You are a dip...ROI is the Gain from the investment minus the cost of the investment; divided by the cost of the investment.
      Thus cost saving is a huge contributor of ROI. Regarding water meters, here is an article in today's and it doesn't even mention ITRI as one of the companies to watch.
      800lb Gorilla, I doubt it.
      Denver, CO, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- September 23, 2011 - Not all water meter types are created equal and some manufacturers produce a superior product, a new study from the U.S. Water Research Foundation has found.

      Some meter types pass the American Water Works Association (AWWA) registry standard tests more consistently than other meter types, the study found. And surprisingly it says, most manufacturers that publicize AWWA standard compliancy do not consistently meet the organization’s metering standards.

      The study, “Accuracy of In-Service Water Meters at Low and High Flow Rates”, was led by Steven Barfuss of the Utah Water Research Laboratory. Its aim was to examine the accuracy of in-service water meters at a range of flow rates, and specifically to gain a more detailed knowledge of low flow accuracy and the effects on the accuracy of age, throughput and particulates.

      A total of 450 new meters and 595 pulled meters from water utilities across the United States were tested. These meters were of various sizes, from 5/8-inch to 2-inch diameter.

      The results found that some meter types were capable of accurately measuring flow at flow rates well below and well above the AWWA standard rates and that other meter types were not capable of measuring these flows. In particular the fluidic oscillator type meter consistently met the AWWA maximum accuracy standard at new condition and after full life of throughput. The new nutating disc and piston type meters most consistently indicated registry accuracies above 95 percent at the minimum AWWA flow rate.

      Degradation trends for individual meter types were most apparent at low flow rates after testing over full life cycles. The nutating disc type meters maintained the most consistent low flow accuracy, while the multi-jet and single jet meters had the largest reduction in registry accuracies from new to full life.

      From the testing of the pulled meters, it was found that potable water quality had less of an effect on meter accuracy than did sand and other particulates. Generally, most of the degradation trends for the pulled meters correlated closely to the new meter laboratory degradation trends.

      The researchers state that the results should provide a basis for water utility managers to make decisions regarding meter accuracy, use and replacement. Meter type should be an important component of the decision process for meter selection.

      According to the study, citing a 2006 interview with Master Meter’s Ron Koch, the majority of residential and commercial flow meters in the U.S. are from six manufacturers, Sensus, Neptune, Hersey, Badger, Master Meter and Amco. Approximately 85 percent are of the positive displacement design and 15 percent of the multi-jet design.

    • (twincity): "What you talkin bout Willis? Do you know what ROI means?"

      Yes, I do...but I am not sure that you know. ROI (return on investment) is basically the money generated, minus the original investment, divided by the original investment. ROI is not the money saved.

      I read through the information from the links you posted; however I did not find any comments relating to ROI. I found references to the amount of energy savings (28%) but nothing about the actual dollars saved verses the cost of the system. So, given the comment that you posted and the information that you provided as a reference, it appears that you, Willis, do not know what ROI means.

      Since I am not an Echelon employee, but rather an investor who looks for unbiased information, here is an unbiased source of information relating to streetlight automation (source DOE Gateway project reports):

      "The remote monitoring/dimming system performed as anticipated. However, based on the current cost of the technology, it was similarly uneconomical to deploy in this location. For the scenario of retrofitting a 150-W HPS with an LED luminaire, deploying the remote monitoring system with a daily schedule of dimming the luminaire by 25% had a net negative present value and further increased the simple payback of the overall installation by more than 3 years"

    • What you talkin bout Willis? Do you know what ROI means?

      "We couldn't be more pleased with the early results of our new street lighting deployment," said Miklos Gantz, vice-mayor of Brasov. "We have cut our energy costs by nearly 30 percent without even changing the existing lamps or ballasts. Based on this success, our plan over the next three years is to deploy this solution for the entire Brasov street lighting system, which includes 18,000 luminaries."

    • "It seems a stretch that Itron can compete with companies that do this for utilities."

      Why? What magic is involved with attaching a node to a network? A streetlight is no different than any other network node, in fact it is significantly more simple than the vast majority of network nodes including smart meters (with which Itron is an expert.) A streetlight has very few functions and extremely low bandwidth requirements. Virtually any network topology can manage streetlights.

      As to the "tremendous movement to connect and integrate the smart grid to the end-users’ systems and facilities such as street lighting systems or buildings."

      The reality is that companies like Echelon are trying to convince cities and municipalities to convert to solid state streetlights and control those lights via network connection; however, the cost savings is dominated by the simple conversion to solid state luminaires. Trials have concluded that the cost of adding a network to control and monitor streetlights is significantly higher than the dollars saved. In other words, networking streetlights has a very poor ROI. Given that city, state, and federal budgets are in shambles, when do you think such entities are going to throw money at networking streetlights, knowing that they will never generate a positive ROI?

      If you make investment decisions based solely upon PR generated by a given company, then every company will look like a great investment. For how many years has Echelon been pitching these markets and how much actual revenue have they generated in these markets. Keep drinking the Kool-aid...

    • A few of comments -

      "Well Echelon is working with Holley, and will be supplying the "guts" to the meter similar to what they will be doing in Brazil." Hmmm, wasn't one of the original knocks against Itron that they were only supplying meters? According to your comment, Echelon is not even supplying the meter...only components to the meter.

      The PR states they are collaborating. It does not state that they have won any business via this collaboration. If you have worked with Chinese partners before, you might notice that over the long term very little of the actual production goes outside of China. A common practice is to learn from experts, utilize existing technology, and then convert to native technology over time.

      What prevents Holley from eventually buying the Echelon IC and developing the comm modules themselves?

      The PR states that Holley will ship 10M meters worldwide in 2011. Assume that all of that business is in China and that they will ship a total of 50M meters into China over the next five years....that is 10% of the Chinese market...far from the 50% of market that Android will hold in 2012. No matter how you try to slice it, Echelon is not 'the Android of the smart grid."

      I struggle to understand why you are on this message board, given that you are an Echelon employee. Your comments will be seen as heavily biased. What is your point?

    • The UTC Product Awards is an annual competition held at UTC EXPO, which recognizes best products in critical infrastructure industry technology and awards winners in the categories of Best Wireless Equipment, Best Telecom Equipment, Best Telecom Services, and Best Smart Meter/Smart Grid Products/Service.

      The UTC judged Ambient's X-3100 communications node and the AmbientNMS, key components of the Ambient Smart Grid communications platform, as the top products in the Smart Grid / Smart Meter Product / Service category. The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) is a global trade association which focuses on developing favorable business, regulatory, and technological environment for companies that own, manage, or provide critical telecommunications systems.

    • The Networked Electric Vehicle
      On September 20, 2011, in Blog, by John Addison
      Duke Energy’s David Masters writes, “Duke Energy defines the digital grid as an end-to-end energy Internet powered by two-way digital technology. It is comprised of an Internet Protocol (IP) based, open standards communication network that allows for automation and the exchange of near real-time information as well as enabling the adoption of new technologies as they become available. Duke Energy’s digital grid will have more efficient and reliable transmission and distribution systems; it will leverage energy efficiency programs to reduce wasted energy; it will integrate more distributed energy resources into our grid and decrease carbon emissions.” Duke Energy is co-locating 3G and 4G cellular communication nodes with transformers. These WAN nodes communicate with RF and PLC to smart meters, charging stations, demand response appliances, street light systems, grid sensors and capacitor banks.


    • In my opinion, you are all missing the 8 pound gorilla in the room that is about to become an 800 pound gorilla.

      DUKE ENERGY Smart-Grid presentation June 30th 2011
      PAGE 19 “These smart meters send metering data from the meter back to the Ambient Communications Node via Power Line Carrier (PLC) technology.”

      These communication boxes send metering data (gas & electric) back to our systems

      PAGE 21 SEE PHOTOS OF “ AMBIENT COMMUNICATIONS NODE These communication boxes send metering data (gas & electric) back to our systems

      See slides 20, (description of communication node)
      See slide 23, (photos of Ambient node deployed in the field)

      FACT: Duke currently has over 55,000 Ambient communication Nodes COMMERCIALLY DEPLOYED.

      FACT: Duke has over $68,000,000.00 worth of Ambient nodes on order.

      • 1 Reply to dc10hasbeen
      • Thanks for the info on Ambient. I just checked them out. They are a micro-cap stock that trades an average of less than 10k shares/day. I try to avoid investments that are not liquid. Even ITRI at ~450k shares/day is a rsiky investment. If a market order is placed for a significant number of shares, the stock price can drop rapidly (which happened earlier this week.)

        In my opinion, Ambient will not become the 800 pound gorilla by supplying comm nodes. Whether Ambient or Echelon, the companies that are being pitched against Itron are companies which provide bits of the system. Itron provides the whole system (including the enterprise software) and the years of expertise and knowledge associated with the specific utilities (water, gas, electric.) Utility companies are not system companies. They cannot design and implement the systems themselves. They rely upon system partners to design, develop, and install the systems. Itron is one of those system partners, as are ABB, Elster, etc. This is not saying that Echelon and Ambient cannot generate revenue in the utility markets. It is to say that those companies are a fraction of Itron (or any other system provider.)

        So, just out of curiosity, what products do Echelon and Ambient provide to the water and gas utilities? Now ask the same about Itron....that is an 800 pound gorilla.

    • It seems a stretch that Itron can compete with companies that do this for utilities.

      "According to Anders Axelsson, Echelon’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Commercial Markets, “There is a tremendous movement to connect and integrate the smart grid to the end-users’ systems and facilities such as street lighting systems or buildings. Echelon offers a uniquely valuable proposition of optimized energy use that leverages a single networking technology from plant to plug – literally. End users like the City of Oslo have found that networks built on our technology provide them with the most flexibility in choosing vendors, adding new technology, and creating new applications and services.”

      Echelon's power line signaling technology and SmartServer segment controllers for smart, distributed control of street lighting systems are becoming the de facto standard for managed street lighting systems worldwide. Markets in China and other parts of Europe are recognizing the advantages of Echelon intelligent distributed control solutions using power line communications (PLC)."

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