Silver Spring Networks said Tuesday it has raised $75 million to expand its reach in the smart-metering market.

The Redwood City, Calif., company develops circuit boards that go inside electric meters. The company also engineers wireless gateways and software that, together with the meters, form a network that provides utilities with prompt data on power usage or equipment-failure alerts.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the hefty new funding. Foundation Capital, JVB Properties and Northgate Capital also contributed to the round.

Last month, Silver Spring said it had signed a deal to sell smart-metering equipment and software to the Modesto Irrigation District in central California. The district inked the $17 million contract to serve its 108,000 residential and commercial customers, said district spokeswoman Kate Hora (see Silver Spring Smart Meters Get New Homes).

Smart-meter startups are attracting more investments lately. In August, Trilliant, based in Redwood City, Calif., raised $40 million from Mission Point Capital Partners and Zouk Ventures (see Green Light post).

Smart meters - so called because they have two-way wireless communications capabilities that allow utilities and their customers to better monitor and adjust electric, water and gas use - have gained a greater acceptance over the past year. Unlike older meters, smart meters provide real-time consumption data and alerts about equipment failures or other problems. In the past, utilities would dispatch workers to read meters manually.

The benefits of smart meters have convinced a growing number of utilities to test or deploy smart-metering networks. Last month, Southern California Edison said it would launch a $1.63 billion smart-metering program for its 4.8 million electric customers in 2009 (see SCE Preps $1.63B Smart-Meter Program).

Before announcing the latest funding round, Silver Spring had raised nearly $70 million in venture capital, debt financing and warrants since 2007 (see Green Light post and VentureBeat post).

Silver Spring is competing with an increasing number of smart-meter companies. Eka Systems in Germantown, Md. Eka last month launched a new monitoring device for water meters (see Eka Systems Dives Into Waterworld).