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.
SCE is partnering with Corix Utilities Inc. to perform most of the installations. Some important information for those receiving the new meters includes:
- Customers will receive advance notice by mail when installations are scheduled in their neighborhood.
- Customers do not need to be home, but should provide clear access to their meters. The installer will leave a door hanger indicating if the installation was successful, or if an appointment for installation is required due to access issues.
- During a typical residential installation, customers will experience a short power interruption of less than a minute. As an extra measure of protection, customers are encouraged to plug electronic equipment, such as personal computers and televisions, into power surge protectors. Typically, no service interruption is required for smart meter installations at small businesses.
- Customers who operate life support medical equipment at their addresses, or have concerns about power interruptions, may call SCE at 800-973-2356.
- Corix installers carry identification indicating they are approved SCE contractors.
- Smart meter customers will receive follow-up mail, notifying them when new program features and services are available and how to access them.
About Southern California EdisonAn Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.