Ten Things to Know About the Advanced Meter Project

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1. Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) is upgrading our metering system by installing a communication device to all residential and business natural gas meters. This advanced metering technology will automatically read and transmit your gas usage information to our customer service and billing center. You will have access to your hourly natural gas usage information on a next-day basis, which can enable you to better manage your gas use, help you save money and reduce your impact on the environment.

2. Approximately six million gas meters will be upgraded with the communication device. Installations began in late 2012 and will continue through 2017, until the work is completed. We will also notify customers by mail a few weeks prior to their advanced meter installation.

3. With the advanced meter, you will have access to more detailed information and anaylsis tools to help you better understand how you’re using gas and where you can potentially save.

4. You can enjoy more privacy and/or security since a meter reader will no longer need to access the gas meter each month. Customers who, in the past, had to provide SoCalGas with a key to their gates, leave latches unlocked, or confine their dogs to give us access to their meters each month, now may only need to provide entry for periodic maintenance.

5. When you conserve energy, you’re helping the environment by reducing CO2 emmissions. Since meters will be read automatically, we’ll also be helping the environment by reducing vehicle traffic, pollution and greenhouse gas emmissions by removing about 1,000 vehicles per day, currently used to read meters. Approximately 140,000 tons of CO2 emmissions will be conserved per year.

6. Advanced meters and the network used to transmit advanced meter information can help enable technology advancements to make it even easier for you to view and manage your energy use. For example, in the future you may be able to sign up for e-mail text alerts, or view your gas usage information via a smart phone application.

7. Once your advanced meter is installed and we have validated the reading, you can view your gas usage information in multiple ways– the easiest way will be to view it through MY Account at socalgas.com. There is no cost to use My Account. With My Account, you can also view and pay your bill online, elect to go paperless, schedule service appointments, request payment arrangements and more.

8. SoCalGas advanced meters differ from most electric utility “smart meters” primarily because it’s battery powered and off most of the time, turning on only for a fraction of a second per day, or less than two minutes total per year, to transmit encrypted data to a data collector. Unlike electric smart meters, SoCalGas advanced meter communication devices do not communicate or share your gas usage information between meters. Data collectors, which are typically situated 24 feet above ground, are the only components that receive encrypted gas usage information. Finally, advanced meters cannot shut off or turn on natural gas service, nor can they control the appliances in your home.

9. The financial benefits of advanced meters exceed the cost. SoCalGas estimates that about 85% of the system costs will be offset by operational savings, and the remaining 15% of the system costs will be offset through energy conservation.

10. Radio frequency from the advanced meter is substantially lower than other typical equipment or appliances in your home and that produced by other activities. The advanced meter communication device transmits data for a fraction of a second each day, totalling less than two minutes per year.

Objectives

The three over-arching objectives for SoCalGas’ consumer outreach and education are:

  • Pre-installation– to increase awareness about the advanced meter project and prepare customers and stakeholders for installation.
  • Installation– to educate customers about the benefits of advanced meters.
  • Post-installation– to educate and engage customers in the conservation of natural gas.

90/60/30 Outreach Effort

90 Days Prior:
Local Elected Officials; City and Community/Thought Leaders; Chambers; Media

60 Days Prior: Community Involvement; Town Halls; Workshops

30 Days to Installation:
Customer Notification and Research

Post Installation:
Follow-up Communications and Research

Natural Gas Conservation Goal

SoCalGas has a natural gas conservation element in its business case that will be a long-term focus of this project and will be measured on an ongoing basis to accomplish an objective of the advanced meter project. The CPUC Decision outlined a goal of a 1% (approximate) natural gas conservation benefit from the consumer outreach program and the installation of the advanced meter. SoCalGas is the first utility in California to have such a natural gas conservation goal identified as an advanced meter objective.

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