Southern California Edison (SCE) will install smart electric meters starting in late September in the San Joaquin Valley as part of the Edison SmartConnect program. The technology will enable SCE residential and small business customers to take advantage of new energy and cost-saving programs and services in the near future. Edison SmartConnect meters are digital, secure, two-way communicating devices. They are replacing traditional mechanical meters and provide a key step in transforming the electric system to a smart grid. Smart meter customers will have access to their daily energy usage data through SCE.com. By signing up to receive email, voicemail or text message alerts, customers can track usage against a monthly budget target of their choice, and reduce bills. “Over the past several years, we have focused on developing an industry leading smart meter program, including extensive testing of our smart meters and associated systems to ensure their quality and performance,” said Ken Devore, director of SCE’s Edison SmartConnect program. “Smart meters will empower our customers to become better managers of their electricity usage through new tools, programs and services that will help them save energy and money, and help protect the environment.” The majority of the meter installations will take place October through December of this year. Communities in the upcoming installation phase include: Armona, California Hot Springs, Camp Nelson, Delano, Ducor, Earlimart, Exeter, Farmersville, Goshen, Hanford, Ivanhoe, Lemon Cove, Lindsay, McFarland, Pixley, Porterville, Springville, Strathmore, Terra Bella, Three Rivers, Tipton, Tulare, Tule River Indian Reservation, Visalia and Woodlake. SCE began introducing these programs and services last year and more than 3.7 million customers now have access to them. Once advanced features are fully activated, SCE’s smart meters will be able to communicate with the next generation of smart thermostats, appliances and other devices. The first smart meter in the Edison SmartConnect program was installed in September 2009, a few miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, in the city of Downey. Installations will continue this year to a total of nearly 5 million SCE residential and small business customers. To date, SCE has installed more than 4.6 million smart meters.