Some brands of Smart Meters can use Cell Phone Networks instead of separate networks set up by the electric power company.

Ontario uses various smart meter brands.  Trilliant is used in many areas and many have asked “how are the smart meters being networked?”

Trilliant has a communications device inside the smart meter called “Cell Reader“.   Just like Itron’s Tantalus TPM Controller (TUNet Module) that delivers data via a 900 MHz to the local Itron network, then passes the data off to Telus or Rogers Cellular networks.




Itron has an older smart meter that also used a Trilliant “Cell Reader” for the Itron Sentinal

In Toronto, shown here , to avoid 24 hour transmission of RF signals, and only send One Data transfer per day ( report via Cellular )


Trilliant provides utilities with wireless equipment and management software for smart grid communications networks that improve energy efficiency; lower operating costs and integrate renewable energy resources. Trilliant’s smart grid architecture powers networks for utilities around the world, including over 1.4 million devices spread over 640,000 square kilometers at Hydro One’s deployment in Ontario Canada. Trilliant utilizes GPRS, iDEN, CDMA and other public wireless. Trilliant is currently integrated with the SENTINEL® C&I electric meter.


Read here about Ontario Cellular Carriers for Trilliant Smart Meters

2007  – Trilliant Cell Reader / Nertec Presentation.pdf



Itron Cellular Module

Designed for both residential and C&I applications, Itron’s cellular metering solution is enabled by an advanced module for data collection and network communications using existing 2G/3G and 4G LTE cellular data networks. The cellular module works in conjunction with an advanced electric meter to become an intelligent client to Itron’s OpenWay Collection Engine and MV-90 xi or other head-end systems. The ANSI-compliant cellular module supports all standard metering functions and acts as the database for the integrated device by reading metering data in ANSI tables, executing scheduled tasks and monitoring for power outages or other alarm conditions.

Features + Benefits

Itron’s cellular module is available for integration with both Itron and third party residential and C&I meters and features a host of key monitoring and communication functionalities, including:
  • Remote Connect and Disconnect
  • Real-Time Power Outage and Restoration Alarms
  • Demand & Load Profile Recording
  • Event Logging
  • Low-Voltage Monitoring
  • TOU Retrieval
  • Demand Resets
  • Real-Time Meter Event & Alarm Retrieval
  • Service Diagnostics & Tamper Detection
  • Automated Meter Registration
  • Secure, Encrypted Data Transmission
  • Over-the-Air Module and Cellular Modem Firmware Upgrade
  • SMS Wake Up

OpenWay_CENTRON_Cellular_LTE  ( PDF )




Trilliant Cell Gateway (NERTEC)



Trilliant, Motorola partner on wireless meter reading system

May 6, 2008   Urgent Communications


Trilliant, a provider of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) based on open standards, and Motorola announced that they have co-developed an advanced meter communications solutions for iDEN public and private utility customers.

The solution uses Trilliant’s CellReader solution with Motorola Harmony and Sprint Nextel public, IP-based wireless iDEN communications networks to support energy-usage data collection via packet-data transmission. Jim Hanson, energy and utility industry principle for Motorola’s enterprise mobility business, said the collaboration between the two companies is part of an overall company strategy to provide additional services that utility customers can run over their private, iDEN Harmony networks, such as fixed data applications. “Many of our utility customers buy a licensed version of the iDEN technology called Harmony,” he said. “It is customized for uniquely private uses. They own the network.”

The communications system supports over-the-air switching between public Sprint Nextel and private Motorola Harmony systems, which is a user-owned, digital wireless voice-communications network. The CellReader supports data transfer from meters, said Paul Karr, Trilliant’s vice president of marketing. The device is a single-board device that fits under the glass of the meter, providing meters with RF communications capabilities without requiring the purchase of another modem or communications board. Because it operates on any iDEN wireless network in North America, it enables data communications at practically zero-variable cost, he said.

Utilities benefit from the technology, because they now are completing large-scale AMI deployments and need a solution with longevity that public carriers often cannot provide, such as a guaranteed 15- to 20-year lifecycle, Karr said. “We see a strong interest in solutions for backhaul, wide area networks such as what Motorola provides,” he said. “As a result, a utility has control and assurance of communications during critical need, whether during an outage scenario or the ability to reliably obtain data on a daily basis.”

The joint solution currently supports meter brands for commercial and metering applications, such as the Elster A3 Alpha, GE kV2c+, Itron SENTINEL and Landis+Gyr S4 families of meters, Hanson said.



Itron and Trilliant Team up in the Dominican Republic

  •  NOVEMBER 1, 2011

CDEEE energy advisor George Reinoso, says, “The Itron and Trilliant solution was one of the best choices available to help us meet our business goals. With this flexible solution, we will be able to leverage our existing public cellular network to better manage C&I meter data, eliminate manual meter reads to reduce costs and errors, and the near real-time data will help us improve our regulatory compliance.”

Trilliant and Itron are providing the SENTINEL CellReader, described as “an under-the-glass communication solution that discourages tampering.” The CellReader’s technology provides two-way communications between Itron’s SENTINEL C&I meters and data management system. Trilliant and Itron will also deploy the system and provide support and on-site training.

Arnie Liepa, Trilliant senior vice president of Channel Businesses, calls timely and accurate data communications “essential to smart grid initiatives. The combined Trilliant and Itron offering will help CDEEE achieve greater reliability in the complex interval data required by their C&I customers.”

Lou Gust, vice president of Itron’s Sales and Marketing of Electricity adds: “We are pleased to provide a tailored solution that delivers the critical knowledge to support advanced pricing programs and meet CDEEE’s customer needs. Our partnership with Trilliant creates another flexible communication option for customers like CDEEE and demonstrates the benefits of interoperability.”

Itron provides resource management solutions for gas, water and heat measurement and control technology; communications systems; software; and professional services. For more information, visit





NERTEC TeleReader invented for Electric & Gas Meters

Industry Canada approves Telephone connection for data transmition with electric meters

“approved for use with the  GE type I-70-S meter (E- 0088),

the Schlumberger Sema (ITRON) type Centron meter(AE- 0920), and the ELSTER type AB1 meter (AE-0598)”


“NERTEC NCTR 801TM Telereader inbound phone line modem”


“…including ITRON, DCSI, HUNT, and SEMPRA, and indicates that most of them use a dedicated telephone system to communicate between their energy meters and their host computer systems. The cost of having a second dedicated telephone line is about $20 monthly for minimal basic service; for businesses it can be much more. Since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has determined that there are in excess of 105 million households in the United States (over 94 percent of all households) with phone lines, the annual cost of that number of dedicated lines would be in the billions of dollars, which would, of course be INCLUDED in the cost of electrical service.”


NERTEC founded in 1985, was acquired by Trilliant Networks, Inc. in 2004

1989 to 1993 Patents ”reading device 40 may be coupled to a data transmission line such as a telephone line via a data recorder to read the information with respect to the electrical power consumption, this reading can be accomplished at a regular rate for example, monthly or weekly” 




Stealth Meters


Analog meters which may contain a transmitter

The following models of analog meters can be equipped with a transmitter. The list may not be complete: