SCE's smart meter program hits 1M mark

A Southern California Edison
A Southern California Edison "smart meter."

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More than one million energy users in Southern California now have so-called smart meters. Southern California Edison announced today it’s reached a milestone with the technology.

They’re called “smart” because unlike mechanical meters that just click forward, these meters talk back, says Edison’s Lynda Ziegler.

"The meters have two-way communication so they send the read information back to us through a wireless network," she says. "Then they have the ability for us to send messages through the meter to devices in the home."

Ziegler is Edison’s senior vice president for customer service. She says that by October, the meters will deliver minute-by-minute usage numbers that people can check online within a day after they’ve turned on the TV or strung patio lights.

Ziegler says the smart meter program includes a billing component that works with the meter to encourage conservation.

"We’ll be introducing pricing programs that customers can sign up for that will give them lower rates during what we call the off peak period during the late evening and early morning, higher rates during the on peak period," she said.

Edison’s installed the meters in Whittier, Montebello, the San Gabriel Valley and Huntington Beach, so far. The investor-owned utility’s moving into the South Bay area, where Ziegler says installers are picking up the pace. According to Ziegler, "we’re setting somewhere around 8,700 meters a day now."

Edison’s placed 1,000,000 meters and has 4,000,000 to go to meet its self-imposed goal of 5,000,000 smart meters within two years.