PG&E’s Upgraded SmartMeter™ Program to Provide More Customer Benefits, Operational Efficiencies California Public Utilities Commission approves PG&E’s upgrade application
Release Date: March 12, 2009
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today received authorization from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the upgraded SmartMeter™ program, which will provide enhanced customer service and increased operational efficiencies. The Commission approved the upgrade after more than a year of review and testimony.
Instead of traditional electromechanical systems, the new meters use programmable digital solid state technology, including a home area network (HAN) interface that will enable customers to automate management of home energy use and reduce their electric load at critical peak times. These and other features will roll out in the coming years as PG&E builds the back-office applications to support them.
“In just a few years, innovation in the industry has made advanced meters more cost-effective and functional,” said Helen Burt, senior vice president and chief customer officer at PG&E. “The upgraded SmartMeter™ system will allow us to be more responsive in meeting customer needs and will provide additional options to conserve energy and save money.”
The commission’s decision provides an additional $467 million for the program, bringing the total program cost to $2.2 billion. PG&E’s analysis shows that the costs of the new SmartMeter™ technology will be more than offset over time by operational efficiencies and reduced power purchasing expenses.
PG&E began installing SmartMeter™ devices in November 2006, after receiving CPUC approval in July 2006. The CPUC directed PG&E to monitor emerging meter technologies and consider upgrades to the program.
PG&E is on track to install 10 million SmartMeter™ electric and gas meters for all customers by the end of 2011. The gas meter technology is not affected by the upgrade.
PG&E reads SmartMeter™ gas and electric meters remotely and on a frequent basis - hourly for electric and daily for gas. In the future, PG&E will leverage the SmartMeter™ system to detect and locate power outages more quickly.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California.