PG&E installs first SmartMeter


Peter DarbeeSan Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — November 17, 2006 – Leaders from U.S. utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) have celebrated the installation of the first SmartMeter™ electric and gas meters, kicking off a five-year program to deploy 10.3 million such meters throughout PG&E’s service territory. The SmartMeter program will eventually offer a wide range of customer service benefits, while reducing utility costs.

PG&E’s program is the largest of its kind in the U.S.A., and is using the technology in innovative ways. The company’s Corporation Chairman, CEO and President, Peter Darbee, and CPUC President Michael Peevey attended a ceremony at a customer’s home.

“PG&E’s SmartMeter program is one of the cornerstones of a sweeping effort to take a dramatic leap forward in the way we deliver service to our customers,” said Darbee. “As we build the SmartMeter network, we will add more and more features to empower customers with better information and the ability to make cost-saving choices about the way they use energy. This technology will eventually give PG&E new rapid response capabilities to restore service following an outage, as well as enhanced abilities to assist customers when they phone our call centers.”

Starting in summer 2007, the SmartMeter meters will be read remotely. At the same time PG&E will offer customers with SmartMeter technology a new voluntary pricing program, called Critical Peak Pricing, which could help many customers save money on their electricity bills by shifting electricity usage away from critical peaks.

In 2008 SmartMeter technology will continually read circuits, so that PG&E can pinpoint the outage scope and location within minutes of a power outage.

The electric SmartMeter device is virtually identical in size and appearance to existing electric meters. The gas module is a small part that can be added to an existing gas meter.