Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 2, 2008 – Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to deploy advanced metering infrastructure for its approximately 6 million meters throughout its service territory by 2015.
This will be achieved with the upgrading of about 4 million meters and the installation of more than 2 million new meters – the majority replacements – with an AMI module providing automated, two-way communications. Gas meter reads will be collected hourly and transmitted back to the utility two to three times per day, and the data used to project customers’ monthly gas bills and to provide alerts to increased gas usage and potentially significantly higher bills if action is not taken to reduce usage.
In its application SoCalGas says there are four compelling reasons that the AMI system should be adopted. First it is consistent with and supportive of the state’s Energy Action Plan endorsement of energy conservation, and will provide customers with access to energy usage information to manage their energy bills. Second substantial operational efficiencies will result, sufficient to offset almost 85 percent of the system cost, and together with reasonable demand side conservation benefits will be cost effective for customers. Third there will be significant environmental benefits, with the elimination annually, on full implementation, of over 6.3 million vehicle miles from the state’s roads and removal of 3,000 tons of greenhouse gas CO2 emissions. And finally the communications network will offer the potential of being used by water agencies and companies to promote water conservation and better water management
The total project cost is estimated at approximately $1.09 billion, of which $903 million is capital expenses and $187 million is operating and maintenance expenses. The operational benefits are estimated at approximately $1.4 billion over the useful life of the technology (to 2034), with more than half of this due to the reduction in meter reading activities.
In order for the project rollout to start in 2009, SoCalGas has requested expedited approval by the end of 2008 of initial funding of $12.4 million to begin pre-deployment activities, including vendor selection, followed by approval by June 2009 for the full deployment. The initial 18 to 24 months would be used for AMI software development and information systems integration. Mass deployment of the AMI gas modules would begin in 2011, with the installation of the approximately 6 million gas modules complete by year-end 2015.
The SoCalGas AMI system will complete the deployment of AMI for the major California investor owned utilities, with Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas &Electric – SoCalGas’ sister utility – already having received CPUC approval to move forward with their smart metering projects.
Sempra Energy subsidiary SoCalGas is the U.S.’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.3 million consumers in more than 500 communities in a 20,000 square mile service territory encompassing central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.