SDG&E’s smart meter program given go ahead

Debra L. Reed,
President & CEO,
San Diego, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 13, 2007 –San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) smart meter program was yesterday given the go ahead by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The decision approves $572 million for the smart meter project from 2007 through 2011, in which SDG&E will install approximately 1.4 million new AMI-enabled solid state electric meters and retrofit 900,000 AMI-enabled gas modules throughout its service territory. The deployment is scheduled to begin in mid-2008.

“Smart meters will provide our customers with the technology tools necessary to help manage their energy usage and improve their energy efficiency,” said Debra L. Reed, president and chief executive officer of SDG&E. “With this favorable decision, customers will now be empowered to make more informed energy choices which will ultimately help ease the strain on our system during times of high energy demand.”

In a statement the CPUC refers to SDG&E’s smart meter project as a vital step in transforming California’s investor-owned utility distribution network into an intelligent, integrated network enabled by modern information and control system technologies.

“These smart meters are part of our program to replace 20th century utility hardware with 21st century technology,” said CPUC Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich.

The decision also formally adopts an agreement among SDG&E, the CPUC’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates and the Utility Consumer’s Action Network. The Commission determined that there are between $40 million and $51 million in net benefits for the Settlement Agreement.

“With this agreement, the San Diego region is now positioned be one of the nation’s leaders in emerging energy technologies via a smarter electric distribution grid,” said Michael Shames, UCAN’s executive director.      

“The agreement significantly improves upon SDG&E’s original proposal, providing more features and more value for ratepayers,” said Dana Appling, director of the Division of Ratepayer Advocates. “The smart meter program can now be considered a sound investment.”

SDG&E currently serves 3.4 million consumers in more than 125 communities from Southern Orange County to the Mexican border in a service area spanning 10,600 square kilometers.