SOURCE: FirstPoint-PrimeStone

enerygy utility MV90 primestone firstpoint itron meridien EICT Elster mozart eka NRECA

February 10, 2010 14:57 ET

Unshackling the Public Utility Industry From Equipment Manufacturers; Joint Venture Between Oregon-Based FirstPoint Energy Corporation and Bogota, Colombia-Based PrimeStone

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - February 10, 2010) - Convergent Industrial Holdings, Inc. (Convergent), its U.S.-based family of companies including FirstPoint Energy Corporation N.A. (FirstPoint) and Bogota, Colombia-based PrimeStone S.A. (PrimeStone), announced today a joint venture, FirstPoint-PrimeStone (JV), to meet the increasing demands by utilities companies needing an alternative to the meter manufacturers' demanding a ransom.

Brian Bishop, the interim President of the JV, explained that he was excited to take leadership, unshackling the utilities companies from both the meter manufacturers and the meter data management software designers. Bishop explained that it's an industry where the utilities generally have no choice but to upgrade the meters due to expiring software, lack of maintenance and manufacturers' planned support contract expirations, but further explained that by upgrading any of the components, the older meters become unsupported because the new versions of software, data translators and data acquisition hardware most often don't support older equipment. He said it's a classic game of planned obsolescence of perfectly good technology that the consumers ultimately pay for.

"Convergent, the subsidiaries of which span the spectrum -- FirstPoint of Oregon, a meter data management, validation and billing services company; Cipher Systems of Oregon, an Original Equipment Manufacturer with products enabling any metering device to be a Smart Meter, such as meter-agnostic data acquisition components, multipoint-multipath high-power ZigBee transceivers and controls for equipment such as water-heaters; Aries Engineering of Oregon, a controls systems manufacturer, specializing in environmental controls design and manufacturing servicing the Demand Control market with products such as GoldHeat; and FG&S of Los Angeles, serving as the international sourcing and custom logistics needs managing distribution contracts -- are all vital components in delivering best-of-breed, cost-effective, legacy and future-compatible solutions," said Ken Millard, President of Cipher.

"PrimeStone, with its universal data translation and data acquisition components, has been a viable alternative to current technologies such as MV90, Meridien and others," said Juan Ibanez, President and founder. Ibanez explained that the synergy and complimentary products of the JV places PrimeStone and FirstPoint as the front runners in the utility industry at the very least, if not the singular alternative. Ibanez added, "Our technology leaves a considerable gap between the JV and the rest of the market solutions, especially because the solutions are hardware and software-agnostic. In short, it simply plays well with others!" PrimeStone provides mission-critical solutions in the AMR/AMI market

Global Private Funding Inc. of Beverly Hills, CA, an equity-based lender underwriting the JV, is a hands-on participant, providing management oversight, implementation of best practices, financial and transactional validation and revenue financing. John Jay Esq., Executive Managing Director of Global, explained how the market research supporting this JV clearly demonstrates a demand by the utilities for a means to break away from the equipment manufacturer's stronghold. The combined capabilities of the JV deliver business rules-based validation, estimation, and editing (VEE) of revenue data and exports-verified revenue data to external systems, such as billing systems, outage management systems, customer information systems, etc. "With over 45 years of combined experience servicing clients in the utility market, PrimeStone and FirstPoint are two very well-positioned and respected leaders, joining to create an even more stable venture, at a time when the market is rampant with mergers and acquisitions just to stay alive," commented Dr. Sam Francis Senev, Chairman and CEO of Global.

"As soon as the word leaked, we were deluged with inquiries from utilities," said Penni Carmin, Customer Service Manager at FirstPoint.

For updates relating to the Joint Venture, please visit 888-422-8484 ext: 5181

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