Funds approved for SCE’s smart meter program


Paul de Martini,
Vice President,
Rosemead, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 23, 2008 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved $1.63 billion in funding for Southern California Edison’s (SCE) smart metering program, Edison SmartConnect.

The decision adopts a settlement proposed by SCE and the CPUC’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates for the project, which the CPUC has determined offers between $9 million and $304 million in net benefits to consumers.

“This decision marks a new era for our customers and for SCE,” said Paul De Martini, SCE vice president, Edison SmartConnect. “Edison SmartConnect enables customers to more effectively manage energy and supports our efforts to partner with them on building a smarter, cleaner energy future.”

CPUC president Michael R. Peevey said the decision continues the state’s efforts to transform California’s utility distribution network into an intelligent, integrated network. “Demand response joins energy efficiency as the state’s preferred way to meet electricity demand.”

SCE began the application process with the CPUC for its smart metering program in 2005. In summer of 2007, SCE submitted an application to allow authorization of $1.63 billion from ratepayers to fund the third and final execution phase of the program, which will see the installation of 5.3 million new smart meters for residential and small business customers from 2009 through 2012.

SCE will report to the CPUC on the energy savings and associated financial benefits of all demand response, load control, and conservation programs enabled by AMI, including programmable communicating thermostat programs, peak time rebate programs, and other dynamic rates for residential customers. SCE will also work with the CPUC to ensure its AMI marketing, education, and outreach program is consistent with the goals and strategies in the California Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.

In December 2007 SCE signed a $480 million contract with Itron for the supply of the communication backbone and 80 percent of its smart meter requirements with Itron’s newly developed OpenWay AMI system. A second meter supplier is currently being sought and Itron will cooperate with SCE to ensure that the supplier’s meters are interoperable with the OpenWay system.