New York, U.S.A. ---- (METERING.COM) --- August 7, 2008 - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is rumored to be about to sign a contract with General Electric and Landis+Gyr for a $1.7 billion smart meter rollout to approximately five million customers. The program will include both gas and electric meters.

An inside source claims that while no negotiations have been finalized, it is expected the contract will be signed within the next two weeks. The program rollout will take place over a three to four year period. The value of the metering portion of the program is estimated at some $450 million.

"It makes a lot of sense to have more than one supplier...( especially when) we're going to be deploying something on the order of 10,000 to 12,000 meters per day," said PG&E senior director of the smart energy web program, Andrew Tang. Tang however, refused to confirm or deny the contract rumors.

According to Paul Moreno, PG&E Corp spokesperson, the installation of smart meters will reduce peak demand by approximately 400 MW.

"We can reduce that peak demand and then we won't need as many power plants and won't need the infrastructure," he said.

The rollout program has been approved by California's Public Utilities Commission to the value of $1.7 billion, but the utility has apparently gone back to the Commission for an additional $500 million in funding.

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