Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is seeking to upgrade its residential meters with next generation high-tech electric meters during the next phase of its ongoing SmartMeter™ program. The new meters would offer an expanded range of service features for customers and increased operational efficiencies for the utility.

PG&E began installing SmartMeter™ units in Bakersfield in November 2006, after receiving CPUC approval in July 2006. Recognizing that the technology will continue to evolve, the CPUC has directed PG&E to regularly monitor emerging meter technologies and consider upgrades to the program. In the subsequent two years the industry has continued to mature and prices for meter devices have decreased while functional capability has increased significantly. The company’s goal is to install 10.3 million SmartMeter™ electric and gas meters for all customers by 2012.

Jim Meadows, program director for PG&E’s SmartMeter™ program, will be speaking at Smart Metering West Coast. Meadows will share his thoughts and update the audience as to the progress of this vast project. He has been involved with the SmartMeter™ program since its inception and has played a key role in developing the business case. Prior to working on the SmartMeter™  program, he advised a number of corporations in the practice areas of business planning, strategic planning, project evaluation, cost of service studies, implementation plans, information services cost studies, and rate of return analysis.

The current SmartMeter™ program enables PG&E to read meters remotely and offer rate options that encourage conservation and help customers save money. It creates powerful demand response programs to help reduce electric usage during critical times and will allow the utility to better detect power outages. The upgraded meters will further expand energy conservation and demand response options for electric customers, including a new peak time rebate program, which would automatically award rebates to customers for reducing energy usage on critical days. The upgraded meters will enable enhanced energy information tools for customers such as real time energy usage data.

PG&E estimates that future savings made possible by the new technology will more than offset the cost of the initial investment, which is expected to require $360 million of new funding from 2009 to 2013.

Smart Metering West Coast takes place from August 18–19, 2008 in Seattle, WA.

Topic highlights for Smart Metering West Coast 2008 will include:

  • Reviewing the policy, regulatory, technology and commercial drivers for smart metering
  • Realizing smart grid and smart meter communication options and strategic integration issues
  • Investigating the strategies, standards and systems behind smart meter data management
  • Assessing smart pricing options, and explore the role of advanced metering in the evolution to an intelligent grid

For more information or to submit your abstract, please contact Ryan Matthews: ryan.matthews@spintelligent.com