BC Hydro, which serves 1.9 million electricity customers throughout British Columbia, Canada, has entered the next phase of network migration for its Smart Metering Program. BC Hydro has passed a major milestone in the testing of Itron and Cisco’s jointly developed IPv6 network architecture, bringing the utility one step closer to realizing the benefits of an open IP-based multi-application network.

BC Hydro will begin the transition from Itron’s RF Mesh smart meter architecture to the smart grid IPv6 network, ensuring interoperability of applications and distribution automation devices over a secure, enterprise-class network infrastructure. After successful back office migration testing, BC Hydro will now commence validation for the broader scale migration to the IPv6 network using close to 40,000 of the over 1.8 million meters currently installed. Following validation, migration of the remaining network connected meters via over-the-air firmware download, will take place in 2014. 

BC Hydro has installed 97 percent of the meters throughout the province. The utility is using Itron’s data management system to acquire detailed data from Itron’s smart meters. The utility also successfully converted 1.75 million customers to automated billing.

BC Hydro says the Smart Metering Program is already delivering clear benefits. The technology has helped increase customer awareness of energy use and costs, improved employee safety and provided immediate operational savings to help keep electricity rates low and reduce energy theft.