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Itron, Inc. (ITRI - Analyst Report) has introduced a new heat cost allocation solution, EquaScan, in an attempt to deliver accurate and fair billing for the rapidly growing multifamily housing market. EquaScan will allow easier, more accurate and a secure way to measure, manage and allocate heat energy costs to consumers.

In various markets, thermal energy is the main source of heat in multifamily housing. Additionally, efficient use of energy reduces consumption and helps in saving money. So in order to preserve resources, the visibility of the individual energy usage is required greatly to facilitate conscious heating habits.

EquaScan enables the collection of energy consumption data of customers based on their actual consumption. The solution also gives customers more privacy with remote data collection.

EquaScan is considered a plug-and-play solution comprising heat cost allocators, water meter communication modules, master radio units and application software. This innovative and simple solution is easy to install, cost-effective and user-friendly. Communication devices are compatible with existing Itron water meters, using open standards.

Itron plans to market the solution in a number of countries including Germany, France, Turkey, China and Russia, targeting billing service companies, distributors, retailers and building contractors.

Itron, which belongs to the electrical equipment industry along with Agilent Technologies Inc. (A - Analyst Report) and Ametek Inc. (AME - Analyst Report), was recently selected by Grayson-Collin Electric Cooperative (GCEC) for its advanced metering solution utilizing cellular communications. The solution offers energy efficiency, reliability and resource conservation at minimum cost.

Itron will benefit from continued focus on lowering costs by reducing capital expenditures and working capital balance. However, the company continues to face a more challenged competitive environment in the U.S. for water and gas metering markets as increasing number of vendors are focusing on these segments to offset softer electric advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) markets.

Liberty Lake, Wash.-based Itron Inc., along with its subsidiaries, is one of the principal technology providers to the energy and water industries worldwide. It produces electricity, gas, water, and heat meters, data collection and utility software solutions along with various other associated metering products for residential, commercial and industrial, and transmission and distribution customers.

Itron currently holds a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). However, not all stocks in the same industry are performing as poorly as Itron. For instance, National Instruments Corporation (NATI - Snapshot Report) holds value with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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