Southern California Gas Co.
LOS ANGELES, April 8, 2010– Today the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) cleared the way for Southern California Gas Co. to implement its advanced metering infrastructure program. The advanced meter technology will enhance operational efficiencies, customer service and safety, and energy conservation.
“We are pleased that the California Public Utilities Commission supports our advanced meter program and recognizes the benefits it will provide to our customers,” said Anne Shen Smith, chief operating officer for Southern California Gas Co. “Advanced meters will give customers the same kind of timely information that they get from their banks, cell phone companies and other utilities. Knowing how much energy is being consumed is a fundamental tool to help customers reduce usage and lower utility bills. We want to help them do both."
The CPUC approved $1.05 billion for the project from 2010 through 2017. Southern California Gas Co. plans to begin replacing and retrofitting an estimated six million natural gas meters with wireless communications modules throughout its service territory beginning in mid-2012.
According to the CPUC decision, Southern California Gas Co.’s advanced meter system “is consistent with Commission energy policy objectives of increasing energy conservation and demand-side management, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and providing customers with information and tools that allow them to manage and make educated decisions about their energy use.”
The data that advanced meters collect will help enhance customer service by providing accurate billing and timely response to customer inquiries, in addition to greater customer privacy, security and convenience. There no longer will be a need to access a customer’s property; instead, natural gas meters will be read automatically -- sending information electronically from the customer’s gas meter to the utility. Once installed, advanced meters will eliminate close to seven million driving miles annually related to meter reading. It also will improve air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions each year due to energy savings and by removing vehicles from the road.
“In addition to operating benefits, the advanced meter system holds the potential to generate additional benefits through a dramatic expansion in the available energy usage information, providing customers with meaningful and timely feedback about their natural gas consumption,” added Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich of the CPUC. "This information will give customers the ability and choice to make changes that reduce energy consumption and cost."
Smith said that the full implementation of the program will result in lower operating costs, which translates to lower rates for customers.
The CPUC already has approved advanced metering infrastructure programs for San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas & Electric. The program supports the state’s energy policy of meeting California’s energy growth needs by first prioritizing energy conservation and resource efficiency.
For more information about the advanced meter program, visit Southern California Gas Co.’s Web site at www.socalgas.com/ami.
Southern California Gas Co. is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.5 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities. Southern California Gas Co. ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Residential Natural Gas Service in the Western United States,” according to the 2009 study by J.D. Power and Associates*. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to www.socalgas.com.
*About the J.D. Power and Associates study: Southern California Gas Company received the highest numerical score among gas utilities in the Western U.S. in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM. Study based on 54,405 total interviews with U.S. residential gas customers measuring 15 utilities in the West (AZ, CA, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY). Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in September 2008-July 2009. Your experiences may vary.