Less than two years after beginning the installation of smart electric meters in the Houston area, CenterPoint Energy, Inc.'s electric transmission and distribution subsidiary, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric LLC has installed its one millionth meter. The company began installing Itron OpenWay smart meters in March 2009 and is on schedule to complete the installation of more than 2 million system-wide by mid-2012.

Electric smart meters are part of Energy InSight, CenterPoint Energy's system of integrated smart technologies, designed to give consumers more control over their energy consumption while improving electric reliability and power restoration.

Smart meters are read remotely, minimizing the need to go house-to-house. Smart meters will also automatically notify CenterPoint Energy about outages to help the company restore power more efficiently. In addition, consumers who have already received their smart meter no longer have to wait for their bill to access their electric consumption information. After a two-month acceptance period following the installation of a smart meter, consumers can get detailed information on their electric usage by visiting SmartMeterTexas.com. Consumers also will have the option of purchasing an in-home display energy monitor, providing them with up-to-the-minute usage information and allowing them to change their consumption behavior to save electricity and money.

"This real time monitoring has proven to be the key to helping us lower our electric consumption in a consistent, reliable manner," said Ruth Diorio, a consumer participating in CenterPoint Energy's in-home display pilot program. "Our family is on track to save more than $300 in energy costs this year."

"Utilities across the U.S. are turning to smart technology to help streamline their operations, save money and empower consumers," said Malcolm Unsworth, president and CEO of Itron. "We're proud that OpenWay is a foundational component of CenterPoint Energy's smart grid initiative, and are happy to commemorate this milestone with one of the nation's most progressive utilities."

In addition to smart meters, Energy InSight's system of technologies also includes a self-healing intelligent grid that will use smart meters, power line sensors, remote switches and other automated equipment to improve power reliability and restoration in central Houston.

CenterPoint Energy has received and put to use more than $100 million of the $200 million stimulus grant from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded in March 2010 to help fund the deployment of its advanced metering system and the development of the intelligent grid.