Southern California Edison is installing smart electric meters throughout the San Gabriel Valley as part of the Edison SmartConnect program, which will help customers save energy and money. SCE customers in parts of Montebello, Alhambra, East Los Angeles, El Monte, Monterey Park, Industry, Rosemead, San Gabriel, Pico Rivera and Whittier will be receiving the new meters through the spring of 2010.

Edison SmartConnect meters are digital, secure, two-way communicating devices that will replace traditional mechanical meters and provide a key step in transforming the electric system to a smart grid. Smart meters measure electricity usage up-to-the minute and, when the program is fully implemented in the second half of 2010, customers will be able to view their energy usage the next day from a computer, cell phone, or other device, helping them track how much they use, and how much it costs them.

The first meter was installed in Downey, California, on Sept. 14, and installations will continue through 2012 for nearly five million SCE residential and small-business customers in the utility’s 50,000-square-mile service territory.

“After careful planning and rigorous testing, we are introducing smart meters to SCE customers as a new tool that can help them save energy and money,” said Ken Devore, director of SCE’s Edison SmartConnect program. “By giving our customers new tools and services to help them better manage their energy use, we can work together to build a smarter, cleaner energy future.”

Within the next year, SCE will roll out new pricing plans, programs and services that will empower customers to make informed decisions about their energy use. In 2010 and beyond, once the advanced features are fully activated, the meters will be enabled to communicate with the next generation of smart thermostats, appliances and other devices.

SCE contracted with Corix Utilities, Inc. to perform most of the installations. Here is some important information for customers getting the new meters:

  • Customers will be notified by mail in advance when installations are scheduled in their neighborhood.
  • Customers do not need to be home, but they do need to provide clear access to their meter.
  • Corix installers will carry identification indicating they are approved SCE contractors.
  • Installation of SmartConnect meters will continue through 2012.

Edison SmartConnect is a $1.6 billion program authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission. SCE anticipates customers’ use of the new meters will reduce demand on the electricity grid by about 1,000 megawatts, the amount of energy produced at an average power plant. Sustained energy conservation resulting from customer response to their energy use information is also expected to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants by a minimum of 365,000 metric tons per year — the equivalent of removing 79,000 cars from the road.