Itron Inc. has started production of more than 4 million OpenWay smart meters for Southern California Edison (SCE).

Selected by SCE as part of its smart metering program, Edison SmartConnect, OpenWay is a standards-based, open-architecture smart metering solution that features two-way wireless communication to state-of-the-art OpenWay CENTRON electricity meters. SCE plans to have all the meters deployed by 2012.

The Edison SmartConnect program is a key component of SCE’s leadership in managing increasing demand for electricity from customers and providing environmental leadership through energy efficiency, demand management, electric transportation and smart grid technologies.

“Delivery of the OpenWay system and meters represents an important milestone in the advancement of Edison SmartConnect and our ability to enable customers to make more informed energy choices,” said Lynda Ziegler, senior vice president of Customer Service for SCE.

SCE executives were onsite at Itron’s Oconee Manufacturing Facility in West Union, S.C., to commemorate and inspect the state-of-the-art meters. In order to meet the new technical challenges and volume opportunities of the Smart Grid market, and to fulfill larger orders such as SCE’s, Itron has committed to a multi-year development of a $10 million fully-automated line.