BURBANK (CBSLA.com) — Southern California Gas Company is installing new high-tech communication devices that could soon render meter-readers obsolete.
CBS2 / KCAL9 accompanied Gas Company crews Monday to neighborhoods and businesses, as they worked to replace six million old meters with a new advanced meter device.
“With anything that is transmitting data you always kinda want to keep an eye open,” said Jeff Winterbottom, whose home received the meter upgrade.
“The privacy, the security aspect is nice,” said Winterbottom. “Being able to track your usage and kinda keep an eye on when you’re using it and how much you’re using.”
The new device sends a brief signal several times a day for a microsecond, transmitting gas usage data to the company, according to Javier Mendoza with Southern California Gas Company.
According to the company, customers will receive a notice 30 days before crews arrive. The changeover takes 15 minutes.
Customers can opt out of the program, but could pay an additional price down the road.
“They simply have to let us know in advance and we’ll put them on a deferral list,” said Mendoza. “There may be a cost associated with continuing to have your meter read on a monthly basis, but that decision is in the hands of the CPUC.”
The Gas Company says the meters are safe, secure and efficient, providing customers savings and energy conservation. According to Mendoza, installing advance meters will help take 1,000 service vehicles off the road. This reduction will reportedly translate into 6.3 million miles not driven and 140,000 tons of greenhouse gases no longer be emitted.
As for safety or privacy concerns, the company said that the Advance Meter does not cooperate with other devices in the home.
“The amount of radio signal that’s transmitted by these is less than many devices we use for long periods during the day,” said Mendoza.
The program began last fall and recently hit the Los Angeles area. It is expected to continue through 2015.