French government to roll out smart meters to 35 million homes countrywide, following successful pilot program; 7 million meters to be deployed between 2013 and 2014, followed by additional 28 million between 2015 and 2018

LIBERTY LAKE, Wash , September 29, 2011 (press release) – Following a successful pilot program, the French government has extended the Linky project to 35 million homes across France, creating the world’s largest smart metering project

Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) is pleased to support the French government’s decision to roll out smart meters, generally referred to as “Linky” meters, to all French consumers. If selected, Itron is ready to meet the challenges of such a massive installation in France following its successful participation in the pilot project conducted by ERDF, the largest French Distribution System Operator, in 2010 and in 2011. During the pilot project, Itron delivered 100,000 meters and 3,500 concentrators.

"This decision, which was made public on September 28, 2011, by the French Minister for Industry, Energy and Digital Economy Eric Besson, shows the determination of the French government to respond to the challenges of energy control and management. It reflects the fact that France has embarked on an ambitious project of modernisation of its electric distribution network, which requires the implementation of smart meters," stated Remy Brill, Itron Regional VP and Managing Director, EMEA Energy.

According to the Minister, 7 million Linky meters will initially be deployed in France between 2013 and 2014, followed by an additional 28 million between 2015 and 2018. Itron, a leading global provider of smart metering solutions, has long prepared for this project. As part of the pilot project conducted by ERDF, Itron made significant investments—amounting to 8 million euros—in its research, development and manufacturing facilities.

“We are now preparing to strengthen and adapt our industrial base to be able to meet the volume required for country-wide deployment, if we are selected during the tender that ERDF will be launching," added William Hosono, Itron Managing Director Electricity France.

The deployment of smart meters is an indispensable component in forming an electric smart grid. As such, the Linky meter will make it possible for consumers to gain a better understanding of their actual consumption in a simplified manner, and will also allow ERDF to more effectively manage the French electricity network.

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