The start of full-field deployment began on March 1 for Itron's OpenWay smart metering solution at CenterPoint Energy, Inc.’s electric transmission and distribution utility. Itron’s recent initial shipments of OpenWay devices will eventually culminate in 2.4 million smart meters being installed by early 2014.

OpenWay residential and commercial smart electricity meters and accompanying wide-area network relays were successfully tested using Itron’s enhanced security architecture based on elliptic curve cryptography (ECC). The system’s encryption and key management appliances successfully secured end-to-end messages from the OpenWay Collection Engine down to end devices on the OpenWay system.

The system is also using multiple open standards, such as IP, SOA, XML, WSDL, American National Standards Institute C12.22, ZigBee, and GPRS, to enable strong, secure communications and integration.

“The OpenWay smart meter installation is the first step in transforming the electric infrastructure to a smart grid,” said Tom Standish, group president of Regulated Operations for CenterPoint Energy. “Installing these meters should enable consumer control over energy consumption while enhancing the efficiency and reliability of our operations.”

Smart grid technology like OpenWay is designed to link electric meters with power line hardware, appliances, communications, systems integration and an intelligence layer of monitoring and control to create a highly automated, responsive and resilient power system.