Itron recently collaborated with Piedmont Natural Gas Co. to automate data collection from 945,000 natural gas meters for the Charlotte, N.C.-based utility.

Using Itron’s Mobile Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology, Piedmont will collect meter accurate reads through radio signals in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The technology removes the need for utility staff to access the customers’ properties to read meters and grant utilities the ability to eliminate estimated bills, improving operating efficiencies and enhancing employee safety.

The deployment will begin this month and finish in October 2007.