Dallas, TX, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- April 26, 2011 - The 2011 Smart Energy International Excellence Awards for North America have been awarded to Southern California Edison (SCE) for Innovation, to DTE Energy for Business Case, and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) for Customer Service.

The Awards, which were supported by AT&T, were announced by David Farris, principal in AT&T’s Utilities practice, in the opening session of the 12th Metering, Billing/MDM America, Water Meter Summit, and World Meter Design Congress in Dallas, TX, last week.

SCE was recognized for its Edison SmartConnect™ advanced metering program that is replacing approximately 5 million traditional electric meters with smart meters that will empower customers to save energy and money. Edison SmartConnect and its partners have worked collaboratively to create a “clean slate” approach to developing new technology to ensure the meters offer advanced benefits and functionality beyond those required by California state regulation or from existing, off-the shelf technologies. The smart meter deployment began in September 2009, and throughout 2010 approximately 8,700 meters were deployed daily so that by year end approximately 2 million meters were deployed. In December 2010, SCE began billing based on hourly data for residential customers and on 15 minute data for small business customers, setting the scene for new programs, services and rate options for customers.

DTE Energy, based in southeastern Michigan, is making its electrical grid more efficient and reliable through its SmartCurrentsSM initiative. DTE Energy has based its business plan purely on the benefits derived from improvements in its operations – not on anticipated changes in consumer behavior or cost recovery from the rate base. Seeking a single-source solution provider for its smart grid technology, DTE Energy turned to Itron’s OpenWay®, providing both electricity and gas metering technology and integrated data management and offering a scalable and interoperable solution that can evolve as the company’s business needs change. Benefits so far include meter reading consistently above 99% daily, reduced truck rolls of 200 and more per day, earlier recognition and recovery of theft, improved power quality consistency, and full integration of smart meter data into DTE Energy’s outage management system.

SDG&E recognized early on in the preparatory phase of its smart meter program that it would face numerous challenges unless a thoughtful customer communication and deployment plan was developed. The plan that was developed was aimed to meet key objectives including building trust to achieve a successful customer experience, building trust around security issues while using data to develop new applications and technology, and cohesively branding corporate sustainability messages within the program objectives. Features of the plan include 90/60/30-day pre-installation messaging and a post-installation follow up for customers, collateral material development, media relations, community relations, public and governmental affairs, internal communications, marketing and advertising, and use of social media. As the program is rolled out on time and on budget, it has gained minimal controversy in the media.