San Diego Gas & Electric has updated a proposal first filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in March 2005 for the installation of advanced meters to all its 1.3 million electricity customers by 2010. The updated plan calls for the replacement of SDG&E’s electricity meters with smart meters that will allow two-way communication between the utility and its customers, and SDG&E proposes to tie its gas meters into the system too.

One of the reasons for the deployment of the smart meters is energy conservation – as is the case in Ontario, Canada, where smart meters will be installed in all homes and businesses by 2010. SDG&E also cites other benefits that include improved customer service and faster restoration of system outages.

If the proposal is approved, meter installation will begin in mid 2008. SDG&E has already conducted a rigorous evaluation of the technologies now on the market, including their ability to interface with its billing and communications system. The utility has called for competitive bids from potential vendors, and evaluated project management experts to assist with the deployment. A series of field tests is scheduled to start within the next few months, to determine the performance of several meter and communication technologies before the final selection is made in mid 2007.