T&D World Magazine

DCSI and PG&E Moving Forward with SmartMeter Program in California

Distribution Control Systems, Inc. (DCSI) is on track to meet Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) September 2007 target for its SmartMeter deployment. DCSI is providing equipment, software and services for hourly automated meter reading in support of the electric portion of PG&E's Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project.

DCSI is conducting the program with PG&E over a five-year period projected to end in late 2011. An initial paced deployment began in Bakersfield in November 2006. This deployment now manages hourly reads using DCSI’s TWACS Network Gateway software and TWACS advanced transponders for the electric meter. The SmartMeter program will provide capabilities to PG&E including outage detection and assessment, and remote connect/disconnect for electric customers. It will enable the introduction of demand-response and time-of-use rates for residential and small business customers as early as summer, 2007.

Installation of SmartMeter electric meters and gas modules began in early November 2006 at a measured pace as PG&E has been preparing to “go-live” from the meter to customer billing. All substation and endpoint equipment deliveries have met PG&E’s schedule. A major DCSI target is assisting PG&E reach comprehensive functionality for full meter deployment, billing and ancillary services. A number of IT systems are being introduced to support both the ramp up of mass field deployment and the use of automated meter reads to bill customers.

"Our relationship with PG&E has proven to be a successful collaborative and innovative effort,” explained Bruce Phillips, president of DCSI. “We are moving aggressively forward with PG&E’s SmartMeter program’s needs, requirements, and schedule. PG&E continuously searches for approaches to provide important benefits to its customers though programs such as Critical Peak Pricing, or what PG&E calls the SmartRate, and DCSI values the opportunity to help deliver those solutions. Customer relationships such as what DCSI has with PG&E help DCSI strengthen our technological capabilities, manage our growth, and continue to develop new solutions for our customers.”

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