FirstEnergy has signed a contract with Itron to deploy Itron’s OpenWay smart grid solution across its four Pennsylvania-based utilities, including Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric, Pennsylvania Power and West Penn Power. The contract signing follows approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The solution, which features Itron and Cisco’s jointly developed IPv6 network architecture, will help modernize FirstEnergy’s electricity distribution system and enable advanced capabilities and consumer programs.

The multi-service smart grid network will provide FirstEnergy with flexible infrastructure that supports Act 129 regulatory requirements for smart metering. The system and the data it delivers will help FirstEnergy operate its grid more reliably and efficiently, improve customer service and provide FirstEnergy’s customers with access to detailed consumption information so they can better manage their energy usage and costs.

FirstEnergy will install more than 2 million Itron smart meters over the next several years, meeting all the functional and business requirements outlined in Act 129 passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2008 to increase energy efficiency in the state. Itron will also implement sophisticated back-office data collection software, including Itron’s meter data management, collection engine and reporting software, and Cisco’s Connected Grid Network Management System.