Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI), which is innovating the way utilities and cities manage energy and water, signed, with the support of its in-country Channel Partner AM Afrique, a contract with Société Béninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) Benin’s only electricity distributer, to upgrade the utility’s electricity distribution system and reduce losses.
SBEE will deploy Itron’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) network, 40,000 AMI meters and the Itron Prepayment Management Platform (IPMP) in the city of Cotonou, Benin. Itron will provide project management, training and support to the utility as well as integrate IPMP as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). AM Afrique, user of the SaaS jointly with the SBEE, will operate the system and will assure the data exchanges with other internal systems of SBEE (e.g., billing and customer management systems).
Providing electricity to more than 600,000 customers, SBEE will utilize Itron’s end-to-end solution to address grid losses and reduce billing errors. Taking advantage of Itron’s AMI solution, the utility will be equipped to optimize the meter-to-cash process and gain greater visibility into billing and usage with intelligent connectivity at the edge of the network. Combining Itron’s AMI and prepayment solutions, the utility will also provide its customers with access to a convenient, cost-effective way to prepay for electricity while simplifying utility operations and improving cash flow by reducing losses. With IPMP, customers can pay their bills through a self-service internet portal, Android-based point-of-sale terminals and smart phone applications.
Itron’s AMI solution, supported by its self-forming and self-healing standards-based communication based on cellular and RF mesh, lays the foundation for SBEE to deploy advanced Distribution Automation applications that will help them further strengthen grid reliability and minimize electricity outages.
“We have a growing number of customers who utilize prepayment for electricity, and we are excited to implement Itron’s network technology and prepayment solution to equip more customers to take advantage of prepayment in order to improve delivery, efficiency and reliability,” said Adjamassouhon Wilfrid, project leader at SBEE.
“By collaborating with SBEE, Itron will make prepaid electricity accessible to all of the utility’s users, while enabling them to reduce losses and gain greater awareness of its distribution system,” said Babacar Diba, area vice president, Africa at Itron. “By harnessing our software and hardware, SBEE will be able to realize outcomes that help modernize its electricity infrastructure enabling greater end-customer satisfaction.”