Silver Spring Networks Acquires Escondido’s Detectent for $12M

Silver Spring Networks (NYSE: SSNI), which makes smart grid technologies for electric utilities, says it has agreed to pay $12 million in cash to acquire Detectent, an Escondido, CA-based company that provides analytic software to utilities.

Detectent initially began in 2004 as a research project, when ConEdison asked founder Mike Madrazzo to analyze the New York City utility’s customer billing data for signs of energy theft, i.e., customers who had illegally tapped into the ConEd power grid. The private company grew on such business.

Energy theft poses a multi-billion dollar challenge for U.S. utilities, according to a statement Silver Spring and Detectent released Wednesday. “Coupled with operational improvements and enhanced customer engagement, there is a growing opportunity to unlock billions of dollars in value by applying data analytics solutions,” Madrazzo says.

The suburban San Diego company’s technology can be used to help a utility analyze whether a customer is running a high-energy pool pump or air conditioning in mid-day. The software also can formulate recommendations that explain to consumers how they can adopt more energy-efficient practices.

Smart MeterDetectent now provides its data analytics services as cloud-based software-as-a-service to more than 20 utilities throughout the United States. Detectent’s technology helps utilities improve the operational efficiencies of the power grids they manage, analyze customer billing accuracy, energy efficiency, and energy theft. The company says its software already is used to analyze data from more than 25 million water, gas, and electricity meters on both smart grid and conventional utility grids.

Detectent has been working with Silver Spring as a technology partner since last May. Silver Spring plans to offer Detectent’s data analytics technology as both a stand-alone service and as technology integrated with the SilverLink Sensor Network, the company’s own smart grid, big data platform.

In a statement yesterday, Silver Spring said the buyout is expected to close by the end of March, and would be accretive to Silver Spring’s earnings by 2016.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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