(SDG&E) to install 1.4 million electric advanced meters and 900,000 natural gas meters, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to install approximately 5 million electric meters and
million natural gas meters. As of the date of this report, PG&E has installed approximately
million meters, Southern California Edison has installed approximately 2 million meters, and
San Diego Gas and Electric Co. has installed approximately 1.9 million meters. Full deployment of advanced meters across the three service territories is expected to be completed during 2012.
Early Controversy Related to Advanced Meter Deployment
In addition, there has also been concerns raised about the potential adverse health effects of advanced meters. In particular the EMF Safety Network filed an application with the Commission asking to reopen its review of Smart Meters, and require PG&E to demonstrate that their advanced meter program is consistent with delivery of safe, reliable gas and electric service at reasonable rates. The Commission denied EMF Safety Network’s request based on the fact that the radio frequency (RF) emissions from advanced meters are 1/6000 of the Federal health standard and far below the RF emissions of many commonly used devices. This health standard is set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) based on guidance recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Importantly, the standard includes a conservative safety factor to account for uncertainty in emissions or exposure, for example.
California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) is currently reviewing available information regarding emission levels from advanced meters and whether these emissions pose any adverse health impacts on customers. The report is due in early 2011; however, the Center for Disease Control for the state of Maine has conducted its own review as has the Canadian health agency, Health Canada, and both have concluded that there are no adverse health impacts due to advanced meters.
Customer education and engagement must be one of the building blocks of a smart grid system. However, customers may not fully understand or appreciate the various benefits smart-meters provide in terms of enhancing their ability to better manage their energy use.