New System Safely Offers Benefits to Customers, Community & Environment
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) customers will soon be able to view their daily gas usage information online as SoCalGas begins installing Advanced Meters in Glendora in March 2014. The SoCalGas upgrade to its natural gas metering system involves adding a small battery-powered communication device on existing residential and business customers’ meters throughout Southern California.
The new device only turns on for a fraction of a second a day—a total of less than two minutes a year—to securely and safely send natural gas usage data from a customer’s home or business to SoCalGas customer centers. SoCalGas will make the usage information available for the customer to view online the next business day.
“SoCalGas is continually innovating and looking for ways to better serve our customers. We believe our advanced meter system will offer benefits for our customers, community and environment,” said Patrick Petersilia, director of the advanced meter project at SoCalGas. “Advanced meters will help customers monitor and adjust gas usage, helping families and local businesses save energy and money. They will also help reduce some 140,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year as we take service vehicles off the road every day.”
The detailed information advanced meters provide will help customers better understand and manage gas use and costs, enabling them to quickly identify and respond to sudden usage spikes and take steps to conserve. Later this year, customers will able to sign-up for weekly alerts and get up-to-date information on usage and billing status via text or email messages.
Customers will also enjoy greater privacy and security, no longer having to provide physical access to their property for monthly meter reading. Installations will take about 15 minutes and be completed by SoCalGas energy technicians during business hours. In most cases, customers will not need to be present and natural gas service won’t be interrupted. Natural gas bills will continue to be based on a monthly read of usage.
The advanced meter device cannot communicate with other appliances inside the home, turn on or turn off gas service and will only be active for a fraction of a second each day to read and send gas usage data. No personal information will be sent and usage data will be encrypted for added security. The battery life of the device is expected to be 20 years, with SoCalGas providing any needed maintenance. SoCalGas expects the advanced meter system will enable operational and environmental savings over its life—savings that will be passed along to customers in reduced overall rates.
In all, SoCalGas is planning to upgrade approximately six million natural gas meters with the new communication device, installing them throughout the SoCalGas service territory through 2017. SoCalGas is conducting a comprehensive information campaign, starting with notifying customers several weeks before installations begin. SoCalGas will also work closely with local community-based organizations to help customers learn about the project. Customers can also visit SoCalGas’ website, socalgas.com/advanced or call toll-free at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish for more information. A SoCalGas advanced meter installation video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI04jL12qC4.
About Southern California Gas Company
Southern California Gas Company has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).