Landis+Gyr has announced a major four-year advanced metering contract with Texas utility Oncor.

Under the agreement, Oncor will deploy a next-generation Landis+Gyr advanced meter system (AMS) to empower seven million Texas consumers, through 3 million points of delivery, to independently manage their energy consumption, cut their energy bills and protect the environment.

The $690 million Oncor project, which includes Landis+Gyr's AMS solution and other project costs, is the largest AMS rollout undertaken in Texas and one of the largest in the U.S. The national demand for electricity is growing three times faster than power resources are being added.

With significant technological progress and encouragement from lawmakers and regulators, smart metering is expected to revolutionize energy management and grid reliability across the globe. Smart metering solutions provide utilities with a two-way flow of data required to manage energy use, efficiency and demand response and network protection. Consumers benefit from lower energy costs, and, crucially, a reduced carbon footprint.

"You cannot fix what you can't measure," said David Slump, CEO of Landis+Gyr Energy Management Solutions in the U.S. "Our technology will allow Oncor consumers to see real-time pricing in their bills, such as time of use, time of year, time of day. That gives consumers control, so that they can make more informed decisions to use power efficiently and effectively. We are committed to helping Oncor deliver this enabling technology to their consumers."

U.S. demand for smart metering solutions is expected to grow rapidly in the months ahead, thanks in part to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that mandates that all electric utilities consider implementing advanced metering systems to increase efficiency.

Analysts predict smart meters -- small, powerful communications tools -- will form the foundation for a national, energy-efficient smart grid distribution network needed to secure, protect and conserve power supply. A recent California study found smart metering cut energy consumption by upwards of 9%. In an Ontario study, researchers noted that a demand reduction of 6.5% was feasible from customers simply having access to the usage information from smart meters.

Just a five percent drop in peak demand nationally would eliminate the need for installing and running some 625 infrequently used peaking power plants, translating into annual savings of $3 billion, a recent Brattle Group study found.

Landis+Gyr, whose operational headquarters is in Zug, Switzerland, recently announced it was opening an office in New York to underscore its commitment to the U.S. market, which accounts for more than a third of its global business.