SDG&E LogoSan Diego, CA, USA --- Metering.com ---San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has received a favorable proposed decision on its smart meter proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), bringing the prospect of rollout one step closer.

The decision, released in a report distributed March 8, approves a settlement among SDG&E, the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) and Utility Consumer’s Action Network (UCAN) to allow $572 million for SDG&E’s proposed Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project from 2007 through 2011.

Starting mid-2008 SDG&E plans to install approximately 1.4 million new, AMI-enabled, solid state electric meters and 900,000 AMI-enabled gas modules that can, among other things, measure energy usage on a time-differentiated basis. The aim is to improve customer service by providing customer premise endpoint information, assist in gas leak and electric systems outage detection, transform the meter reading process and provide real near-term usage information to customers.

SDG&E filed its original application for smart meters in March 2005, but a dispute arose when the DRA estimated that it would result in a net increase in costs to ratepayers of nearly $100 million.

As a result of litigation, the following main changes are to be incorporated, a CPUC statement says: to include a feature allowing information from the meter to be sent into the home, where it can interface with smart thermostats and other appliances; to include remote disconnect switches that will allow service shut off or restoration without needing to send out service personnel, as well as potentially allowing for new peak load reducing rate options for small customers; and, a change in the allocation of the costs of the project that will reduce charges to residential and small commercial customers by over $100 million.

In addition, an advisory panel will provide oversight of SDG&E's installation and implementation of the new technology.

“Overall, these changes provide additional benefits and reduced costs that make the project a winner for SDG&E's ratepayers,” says the statement.

The final decision on SDG&E’s smart meter proposal is expected from the CPUC on April 12, 2007.