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Monitor Your Electricity Usage: 1 Million in Southern California Already Have a Smart Meter

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Photo by Southern California Edison

Photo by Southern California Edison
A new plan to install smart meters in every home in Southern California using Edison electricity has reached a milestone. The utility has now installed one million smart meters in only 10 months time. The first smart meter was installed in September of last year in a home in Downey and the one millionth was installed yesterday in a home in Redondo Beach. But Edison does not plan to stop there -- they are hoping to install 5 million by 2012.

Smart meters are meant to completely change the way households consume energy. The new meters will not only gauge how much total energy is being consumed but will also track when and how much each appliance contributes to the total amount used. Additionally, an anticipated upgrade will soon allow cusotmers check those rates online via computer, mobile phone, etc

Think of the technology as two-way communication tool that sends updates over a wireless network. Once installed, software can be updated without the use of technicians.

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The installation project is estimated to cost Edison about $1.6 billion and consumers a 1.6 percent increase in electricity costs. But an Edison spokesman says the smart meter’s are worth it.

“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, “ explained Ken Devore, director of SCE’s Edison SmartConnect program, to Transportation and Distribution World Magazine.

The Smart Meters are expected to ultimately save costumers money as well as reduce electricity usage and greenhouse gas admissions. If consumers take advantage of the Smart Meters and adjust appliance usage accordingly, greenhouse gasses can potentially be reduced by 365,000 metric tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 79,000 cars off the road, according to the magazine.

Edison Spokesman Charlie Coleman also suggested potential electricity reduction can save costumers as much as 5 percent on monthly bills.

But Edison is not the only one with the vision of seeing electricity rates go digital. Google launched an application called Google Powermeter in 2009. The internet tool, however, is still reliant on already-installed smart meters and the partnerships with the application are limited. For California residents, if you happen to live in San Diego and use San Diego Gas & Electric you can already monitor your home’s energy consumption online for free via Google. For those with Edison's meters, the online tracking system will be up and running with minute-by-minute updates by sometime in October.

Next up for Edison Palos Verdes. Click here (PDF) for the a map of the installation schedule.