Deutsche Telekom and RWE Deutschland have signed a new deal which will give the energy firm the ability to communicate with 15,000 digital electricity meters in the Mulheim an der Ruhr region of Germany.
Under the terms of the agreement, smart meters and communication boxes are set to be installed by the telecoms company, and data will be extracted from the devices by the middle of the year.
Data will be collected from the meters and sent via an encrypted channel to RWE in what is the largest smart meter project in Germany to date.
Some 100,000 devices will be installed in Mulheim an der Ruhr in 2012 as part of the project, named Mulheim Zahlt ('Mulheim Counts').
The move will mean that the entire town, which has a population of approximately 167,000, will be equipped with smart meters.
"From the experience gained and yet to be gained from the Mulheim Zahlt project, we will obtain important information about the advantages and proper handling of a new generation of energy data recording," said RWE Deutschland's Gerhard Radtke, who is one of the project's leaders.